Flying

Parish Diary

Fr. Peter Daly

February 6, 2006

 

††††††††††† I like flying. I like it if I have a window seat.

††††††††††† I like being at 35,000 feet and seeing the world from a ďGod likeĒ perspective.

††††††††††† Miles above the earth one can see a pattern and an order in creation. Mountains channel rivers. Rivers flow into oceans. Oceans define the land. When God moved over deep, he brought order out of chaos in creation.

††††††††††† From miles above the earth, our interaction with nature makes sense. Geographic features make sense out of our human works. You can see why roads end at lakes or why cities are located near bodies of water. Railroads and interstates follow sensible contours. What looks like a maze of roads on the ground becomes a piece of artwork from above. This is especially true over the great American Midwest. There you can see that roads become tic-tack-toe grids and farm fields are laid out like a chess boards.

††††††††††† One thing that does not make sense from above is the political division of the earth. National boundaries are not painted on the land and are not part of Godís creation. Nation states are the work of human culture, not divine will.

††††††††††† From the air there is nothing inherently different about the land on one side or another of the Rio Grande, or the Alps, or the Jordan River. To God it all looks the same.

††††††††††† In Godís plan the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, and the wind and the water can move freely across the face of the earth. Maybe people should too.

††††††††††† From Godís perspective we all look like neighbors. I donít think God distinguishes between Palestinian and Israeli territory.

††††††††††† What does God see when He looks at the earth?

††††††††††† When we look back from a plane or a space ship, we might see what he sees, a blessed bright spot in a cold and vast universe. It is a cheerful little planet in the midst of a great galaxy of stars. It looks like such a favored place, this blue-green orb which is warmed by the sun and cooled by the water. Nowhere else in the cold vastness of the universe are the residents so blessed or so heedless of their blessings.

††††††††††† From Godís point of view I would think that the shortages and limitations which do exist are not of His making. They could easily be overcome if people on the other side of the blue-green ball would just share with the people on the other side.

††††††††††† In a divine perspective the earth looks clean and shiny. From 35,000 feet it is always a sunny day and a starlit night. Clouds are only partial and always in motion, just passing through. If we could see the earth that way, maybe we would all be more optimistic and less depressed.

††††††††††† From the air, the earth by night is blanketed in darkness which is pierced by spots of light. These lights are human beacons aimed at the heavens. They look like silent prayers, saying to the God of the heavens, ďWe are here. Do not forget us!Ē

††††††††††† It is a great feeling to see from above. Too bad we canít stay up there. Eventually have to touch down. But the memory of the view from above sustains us in hope and faith.

††††††††††† In flying we can look at creation from Godís perspective and see what it says in Genesis. ďGod saw that it was very good.Ē

††††††††††† I like flying when I get a window seat. Too bad we have to land and go through baggage claim.