God, the Flight Attendant

Why is it that no one pays attention to flight attendants when they are giving essential, life-saving instructions? Perhaps a better question is how does it feel to be those flight attendants giving essential, life-saving information when everyone is ignoring you?

God knows. Literally.

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Is our loving God trying to tell us something important, and we ignore him? Like flight attendants, God never stops trying to get his message across. Sure, once in a while we might look up to those waving their hands, gesticulating with airbags and life vests, and smiling over us as we look beyond them. We intend no malice; we do not mean to be rude or dismissive; we just know it all, as we have heard their message so many times.

Similarly, we know the gospel stories; we understand that we are to love our neighbor, serve the poor, and tell the truth. Yes, we are called to have a prayer life and frequent the sacraments, especially the Eucharist weekly. We get it.

But do we?

To discern the times in which we are living, we first must be attentive to them. To pay attention is to see what is happening and to understand how the Holy Spirit, our loving God, is inviting us to respond. We really do not know it all.

In the event of an emergency on an airplane, would we really be able to retrieve those instructions that we ignore so blatantly? Amid panic and anxiety, it might be difficult to remember those essential, life-saving instructions. Maybe there is value in paying attention every time a flight attendant takes to our aisle for life's most ignored presentation.

In the event of the emergencies of our lives, how well do we integrate the best of our great spiritual tradition into the current crisis we face? In those moments, do we realize that our gentle God is standing there before us, yet again, offering essential, life-saving instructions: pray, trust, serve, love, and tell the truth?

Because of God's amazing love for us, he apparently doesn't mind how much we ignore him. He keeps showing up, hoping we will pay attention and assuring us that he, like those responsible for our safety on airplanes, will be with us in the event of an emergency.

Let's pray that when those emergencies come our way we remember God's essential, life-saving instructions.