Flying down the valley

Jan 23rd, 2007 | By | Category: Sermons


Rector’s Letter from our Parish Magazine for February 2007

Sitting on an Austrian Airlines Boeing 737, my friend Leslie said, “You know we have to fly down a valley between mountains to land at Innsbruck?”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah”, I said, and went back to reading my newspaper (and there are pots of gold at the end of the rainbow, I thought).

The pilot announced that we were beginning our descent, “Cabin crew, ten minutes to landing”. The Alps looked wonderful in bright winter sunshine. Innsbruck drew closer.

“Now look”, said Leslie. I looked out of the window to the left; there were mountains to the side of us. I looked across the aisle to the window at the other side; there were mountains out that window as well.

We were in a jet airliner going at a great speed that was going down a mountain valley. Aren’t airports supposed to be in wide, open spaces? Whose idea was it to put an airport here anyway? I feigned complete calmness and tranquillity, but there were other passengers as clearly surprised as I was, when we landed they started to clap the pilot!

Had I known, would I have flown there? If I hadn’t I would have missed the opportunity of going to the beautiful place in which we stayed.

Fear of going into uncertain places is probably the main reason most people don’t move on in their faith. It’s easier to stay with what we know, to hold on to our faith as we received it when we were children, rather than to move on and try to grow as Christians. But if we are never prepared to take what can seem like risks at the time, then we will never discover new things, we will never sense God in different ways.

Jesus called his disciples to take risks, to go where they felt uncertain, to go where they even felt frightened, only by following that call could they truly be the people Jesus wanted them to be.

Jesus doesn’t call us to leave home and family, he doesn’t call us to face violence and persecution, but I do think that he calls us to be more adventurous than we are. Reading the Bible, saying our prayers, can often be things that haven’t changed since our childhood days, maybe they are even things that we haven’t done since our childhood days.

This Lent, let’s have the courage to venture out into the uncertain, to open the Bible and see what it might be saying, to be still and listen to God to hear what he might be saying. Who knows, we might be so surprised at where we arrive that, like the passengers at Innsbruck, we clap our hands with delight!

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