Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Making a Difference

Sometime last month, before the grey cloud descended over my summer, I was looking up at the sky and noticed how many 'con trails' there were. 'Con trails' are those white lines in the skies that mark out the flight path of a plane, caused by the moisture being forced out of the air by the effect of the wing. The fact is, a wing changes the air it passes through, almost always invisibly. It is that change that grants lift but if were granted a view of the air before and after the wing, we would see two very different images.
I was given cause to think of an old cleric that I know and love, the bishop who confirmed me in 1983. His gentle personality, razor sharp wit and authentic prayerfulness changed everyone among whom he passed. I would go so far as to say that the man to whom I refer is the most Christ-like human I have ever met, and he too left a mark of change behind him. His 'con-trail' didn't vanish after mere moments, but rather became indelible.
It is in my heart to try and be like that man, to make a difference to the air through which I pass. I am not sure how it is done, but for a man or woman of Christ, it can only be done by utter authenticity of self.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Where the danger lies

It is a truism in free-flight communities that the greatest danger to a pilot is when they are nearest to the ground. This may either sound like a statement of the obvious or the absurd.

Indeed, it is so. At the point of launch or at the approach to landing, each move is critical. In simple terms, the overwhelming 'enemy' in flight is the ground. Having a calamity ar 3000ft is not good, but a pilot has time to make corrections, throw the reserve or let the inherent desire to fly that the aircraft has take over. Sadly, the vast majority of pilots who are injured or worse are those at the beginning or the very end of their flight.

I find that my prayer life suffers from similar such perils. The calamity to prayer - giving up the attempt - is most likely at that moment when we seek to be with God, or in other words, the launch into prayer. If the peril is not praying, and sometimes, when conditions don't feel right, it is easier to abandon a time of prayer rather than press ahead.

In terms of the danger at landing, I liken this to the moment when a prayerful encounter should be drawn to its close. It is that very same moment when prayerful attention turns into daydreaming (though I see the good in the argument that at times, daydreaming is itself prayer). At landing, our prayers either draw to a close as they should, or they turn into the next shopping list.

In the middle of these two bracketing points, we can enjoy a safe and inspiring flight into prayer - largely free of that danger that can assault our moment with our Lord.