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Flight 214

July 11, 2013

???????????????????????????????This weekend, most of us stared at our televisions as reports of Asiana Flight 214 began to come in. The pictures of a burned out jet fuselage at San Francisco International airport left us in stunned silence. One of the most amazing details is that so many of the passengers and crew survived.

Reports of what happened in the cabin upon impact are beginning to surface. One that stood out to me was the survivor talking about how the crew very calmly assisted passengers to the emergency exits. I cannot fathom the chaos caused by the impact: people in shock, disoriented, injured, anxious, and upset. In the midst of this confusion, one group was prepared to respond in a calm and responsible way.

Flight attendants sign up to fly, not crash. But we want every flight attendant to be prepared to help should a crash occur. Most of us roll (or close) our eyes when those uniform-clad agents step into the aisle of the airplane with a seat belt and oxygen mask. Flight 214 reminds us that safety, even survival, depends on crew members who are willing to be trained for an event they hope will never happen. It depends on crew members who are willing to pay attention to training that most will never use. Such details don’t make the job training very interesting, but if you need to use it, it is too late to wish you had paid better attention!

We learn a lot of things in life that prepare us for the unexpected. This can happen spiritually as well as physically. We don’t know which Bible reading or which song, which prayer or which inspirational book is going to provide the help we need in a crisis. We don’t attend worship, pray and study for the immediate benefit. These exercises build spiritual muscle and strength that is available to us, even when we didn’t expect to need it.

Have you ever thought of worship, prayer, or Bible study as a disaster drill? Every life has ‘crashes.’ The key is being prepared in advance. How do you stay calm in the midst of chaos? You practice in peace.

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