I have just returned from our trip to Greece and Italy, following the Journeys of Paul. It was a great trip, and I enjoyed spending time with all of our Indiana travelers -- especially with our recent ordinands whose participation was covered by the travel gifts they received at their ordination from the Area Foundation of the United Methodist Church.
However, those ordinands had a scary moment during their trip over to Athens. All of them were on a plane which blew an engine over the Atlantic Ocean, and their pilot did a good job of making an emergency landing in Ireland. I am certainly relieved that they made a safe landing and were able to continue on the trip, after a long delay and getting a new plane.
When I visited with the ordinands as a group, I was proud of their attitude during that crisis. Even though most of them heard the loud "bang" when the engine blew, and all of them experienced the cabin of the plane filling with smoke, they showed remarkable poise and faith during that crisis. As one of the young clergy expressed it to me, "I just prayed and knew that either we would land safely or I would go home to be with the Lord. Either way it was going to be OK." His faith was typical of the calm assurance experienced by most of those young clergy.
His words also remind me of the witness of the Apostle Paul who said, "If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord." (Romans 14:8)
That is a pretty good Thanksgiving reminder, isn't it? I pray that you and your family and loved ones will have a blessed Thanksgiving.
from Bishop Michael J. Coyner