Friday, February 13, 2015

Serving you on our journey together

Every day of year many people will find themselves seated for considerable lengths of time on both sides of an aisle all facing forward. Crowded together like sheep, they will be served by smartly dressed persons who assist them as they all proceed on a journey, the outcome of which is not in their hands, but rests in the hands of a skilled Pilot. As they are gathered together they will be offered some nourishment that some will refuse. They will be expected to look at some printed material and listen carefully to what is being said - although many will ignore the speaker. They will be told that they are required to comply with the instructions of those who tell them how to be saved.  Where are they?

If you can see a resemblance between going to church and traveling on a commercial airline - then you I and are on the same page. For there is a resemblance that is worth thinking about. especially from the perspective of a pastor.
It seems to me that a useful comparison may be made between pastors and flight crew/flight attendants, as the above riddle suggests.
  1. Flight attendants do not pilot the aircraft on the journey - neither do pastors determine the course of people's lives.
  2. Flight crew do not own the airline - neither do pastors own their churches.
  3. Flight attendants do represent the airline and its image and therefore wear a nice uniform and maintain their appearance. Pastors, too, should look smart and take care to represent the church well in all they do.
The instructions given by the flight crew are to be respected and heeded. Federal regulations require that all passengers comply with the instructions given by flight attendants. Likewise the Holy Scriptures require that all church members respect the instruction and guidance of pastors as they have the best interests of the whole church in mind and of individuals in particular who must all answer to a higher Authority - God.
The instructions given by flight attendants may actually save you from death. The instructions given by pastors often involve facts and the administration of the means of grace that can make all the difference between eternal life and eternal death.

Most of all, flight attendants never cease to care about and care for passengers. As long as you are on their flight, the flight crew will try to do all they can to make your journey a positive one.
British Airways used to have the slogan "To Fly - To Serve". That was a reference to the mission of the flight crew as they committed themselves to attending to their passengers' every need. At the same time, the flight crew shared the fate of their passengers should anything happen during the flight.

It is the mission of pastors to serve in a similar way - to attend to the needs of the people entrusted into their care. And during the journey of life to put the needs of their fellow-passengers at the forefront of their minds.
Like airlines, there are many choices of religions available to you. But instead of saying, "Thank you for choosing us," I am going to say, "Thank God that He chose you, called you by the Gospel, enlightens you with His gifts, sanctifies you, and keeps you in the true faith!"   We hope that you have a pleasant journey!

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