First Man

Posted by Scott Foster on

I got around to watching the Neil Armstrong biopic this week.

Interesting historical profile, but I don’t think we come away knowing much about Neil Armstrong below the surface. The movie plays him as a profoundly introverted person. An “egghead” engineer pilot with nerves of steel. Family man, but emotionally detached in so many ways.

There’s a scene before he goes off to the moonshot in which his wife demands he spend some time talking to his boys. What happens if he doesn’t come back? They need to spend some time together before he goes to Florida for the launch. So, he does. Reluctantly, but he does.

One of his sons hugs him before going to bed. The other shakes his hand. Neil Armstrong goes off to profoundly make history and change the world on a handshake.

Last week I was riffing on Fr. Richard Rohr’s piece about the life and times of Jesus compressed into the comma between “Born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate…” in the Apostles’ Creed. It’s a big comma. There’s a lot packed into that comma.

I’m watching First Man, and I’m thinking Jesus is the “first man.” Not that it’s a particularly original thought. It’s not.

What I wonder about all the time—and I come back to this a lot—how much does Jesus know about the impact of that comma? Like, when it’s happening? As I read the Gospel stories about Jesus’ life and times, I wonder if he knows or even thinks about his impact.

Neil Armstrong knows exactly what to feel like when he steps off the LEM onto the surface of the moon and into his place in history. Before he even opens his mouth to utter the words, he knows exactly. His moment. His time.

After that, nothing is ever the same again. Right?

So too with Jesus as it turns out.
Nothing is ever the same again.

Does he know that?

I think our lives answer the question.

Grace and Peace,


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