Monday, August 12, 2013

Miracle on the Hudson

Miracle on the Hudson: the Extraordinary Real-life Story Behind Flight 1549, by the survivors
By William Prochnau and Laura Parker

I read this book (along with Highest Duty and one other book) because I was preaching on the apostle Paul's own escape from dying in a shipwreck (see chapters 27-28 in Acts). I wanted a better understanding of what it must have been like to face death and live. Paul's companions on his fateful voyage made some poor decisions, tried to correct their mistakes mid-trip and ended up following Paul's foresight. This saved everyone's life on that fateful trip to Rome.

On Flight 1549, the passengers had only minutes to deal with their impending death. Many of them prayed. Some texted their loved ones; one woman actually spoke to her husband on the phone during the whole experience. However, not one passenger actually had any kind of control over their fate: they were all in the hands of Captain Sully and Co-Pilot Jeff Skiles...although I think God had a bigger hand in the whole thing than anyone seems to give God credit for. Then, once they landed on the frigid waters, they had to quickly evacuate and stay alive and well until they were rescued by various water craft. The most interesting fact is all of this took a little over 30 minutes however much several passengers expressed that it seemed like hours.

I wish I could say all the passengers remained calm and everyone was a hero, helping each other safely leave the sinking aircraft. But I would be lying. Several passengers seemed to take a me-first attitude, although many of those finally realized that they needed to help others. There were several heroes of the day. There were also those who seemed incapable of any kind of response, even with others encouraging them to act. More than one passenger tried to grab their luggage as they exited the plane! I enjoyed hearing from the different perspectives.

What did this book have to do with my faith besides helping me write my sermon? I was struck by how the faithful -- and possibly not so faithful until that moment -- handled the crisis. Several passengers remembered how quiet the plane was without the engine noise and how you could hear various people of different faiths praying. Something about that image really has stayed with me -- in the face of death we turn to our faith. For Christians, we turn to God. Why do many of us wait until we are falling from the sky before we turn to God? Why does our faith wait on crisis to be rekindled? In what ways does your faith need to be kindled today? Don't wait for another crisis before speaking with God.

I recommend this book.

Happy reading!


No comments:

Post a Comment