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One of Our Heroes Died Last Year

Those of us that were teenagers in the Sixties were witnesses to amazing and tragic moments.  One of the “amazing” milestones was America’s Space Race with the Soviet Union.  Instantly, a group of men were vaulted into the status of national heroes.  The first seven men chosen to go into space for the USA were nick-named “the Mercury 7”.  Since the tiny Mercury space capsule would be the means of getting them “into and back” from the initial space explorations, they were dubbed the Seven that would fly in those first “space ships” that were still very primitive.

John Glenn, was one of those heroes.  He became the first man to orbit the earth aboard Friendship 7 in 1962.  He was no stranger to flight having won five Distinguished Flying Crosses in World War II, and years later went on to become a U.S. Senator from Ohio.  He left this earth December 8, 2016 to enter Heaven’s Gates.

Perhaps less well known is that he was a man of deep Christian faith. He was one of the pioneering astronauts of the Mercury program at a time when space travel was inherently risky. He said he prayed every day during that time.

During the return on February 20, 1962, Glenn’s heat shield was thought to have come loose and many believed it might fail during re-entry, which would cause Glenn’s capsule to be incinerated in its fiery descent.

Glenn was instructed to take manual control of the capsule and described “a real fireball outside” as he re-entered the atmosphere. Thankfully, his and many other prayers were answered when he splashed down safely in the Caribbean.

Shortly after his flight, he delivered a sermon, “Why I Know There is a God,” that described his enlarged perspective on God as a result of the mission.

In his message, he marveled at the size of the universe. “Our galaxy is some 100,000 light years in diameter…we realize how difficult it is to visualize the tremendous scale of the universe beyond our solar system. The limits of the telescopically observable universe extend at least two billion light years from us in all directions,” he told his listeners in 1962.

Then he expressed awe at discoveries from the microscopic level. “Come back to what we know of atomic particles, the smallest particles known. Atoms have a great similarity to our solar system in that they have electrons rotating about a nucleus in regular patterns.”

“Now what is the point I am making?” he asked. “It is the orderliness of the whole universe about us, from the smallest atomic structure to the most enormous thing we can imagine.”

“Could this have just happened? Was it an accident that a bunch of flotsam and jetsam suddenly started making these orbits of their own accord? I can’t believe that. This was a definite plan. This is one big thing in space that shows me there is a God. Some power put all this in orbit and keeps it there.” (This was taken from

Mr. Glenn was overwhelmed with the magnificence of God.  So was the Apostle Paul…For by Him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.   (Colossians 1:16-17)