Source: Grosse Pointe News Online

Invitation to fly upright

by Rev. Jim Rizer

November 29, 2012

There is a common assumption that large planes are safer than smaller planes.

Edwin Lutzer once shared this thought with a pilot friend. The pilot responded, “Many people think these huge jets are built more safely, and therefore, are safer to fly than smaller planes. People think there are more crashes with smaller planes than with commercial jets. But that’s not true. The reason why so many lighter planes crash is not because of bad equipment. It’s because of inexperienced pilots flying the little planes.”

Lutzer replied, “Tell me more.”

“The error of inexperienced pilots is that they refuse to believe their instruments,” the pilot said. “In a storm, they trust their instincts rather than their navigation instruments. That’s where they get into trouble. They often choose to disbelieve the instruments and adjust the plane according to their senses. When the pilot ignores his readings and adjusts the plane according to his intuition, it is sure to crash.” (“Trust the Instrument Panel” by Mike Benson.)

There is great danger in relying on feelings and intuition, particularly when the instrument panel suggests a far different reality. Even the seasoned and experienced pilot can succumb to the temptation to trust their perceptions alone. This is equally true in the area of faith as it is in flying.

Every Advent, like a warning light on the instrument panel of life, John the Baptist appears with his familiar call, “Repent, the kingdom of God is near.”

John appears on the scene not just as the herald to proclaim Christ’s coming, but as mandate to check the readings as the fresh wind of the kingdom of God is about to become even stronger. His charge to repent is an instruction to reassess the direction of one’s life, to reassess one’s assumptions, and realign our lives with the kingdom of God.

This is the invitation to check the altimeter of goodness and righteousness. This is the invitation to honestly reconsider our assumptions, intuition and feelings. This is the invitation to ensure that we are not flying upside down. This is the invitation not to miss the fullness of the kingdom of God.

Check the instruments. It looks like a warning light is flashing.

Rizer is the minister at Living Hope Church,