I love airplanes. I always have. From a young age, I surrounded myself with them- voraciously consuming aviation books and magazines, building models, going to airshows and museums, building models, and hanging literally dozens of posters and hand-drawn pictures of them on the walls of my bedroom. I’ll never forget my first flight- a helicopter ride at our local airport in my small town. I was nervous, but breathlessly excited. I still remember the ground receding below us as the helicopter engine throttled to full, the landing skids leapt from the tarmac, and the sleek aluminum embraced the sky.
There’s an irony about flying machines though, and it’s this: As much as the skies contain all the mystery, majesty, and allure when it comes to flying, at the end of it, the thing that really matters when it comes to any airplane is the earth below- the ability of the plane to get off of it, take you somewhere useful, and land safely at the destination. An airplane that failed at any of these things would be useless, cast to the scrap heap, a failure regardless of the wonders to be experienced with it up in the air.
When you and I fly, we want to be on an airplane that stands an excellent chance of getting us to the destination. The same is true with faith. One of the great challenges of any faith or belief system- Christianity included- is that it’s often of limited usefulness here on the ground. It’s great up in the clouds- when life is good, when we’re in church services singing songs or listening to a message that makes us feel good, when everything makes sense. But too often, faith fails to either get off the ground with us, or to land us in the right place where our journey takes us, and in one piece! We look at the world, the news headlines, and the challenges and complexity of our lives, and wonder how the platitudes we hear on Sunday morning inside the church walls could have any meaningful bearing on all of that.
This summer at Newbridge, we’re going to explore a kind of faith that is like a good airplane- a faith that WORKS. A faith that exists where earth meets the sky. We’ll be journeying together through the book of James, one of the most plain-spoken and practical parts of the Bible. We’ll be exploring and learning to put into practice a faith that’s not only useful at 35,000 feet when the horizon is clear, but one that gets us off the ground, navigates through the storms, bumps, and winds of life, and lands with us in the right places in one piece, and full of hope. We’d love for you to join us on the journey!