Every preacher needs a parachute

The importance of ‘splashdown’

I have spent this week as part of a team of almost 70 volunteers running the Space Academy Holiday club, based around the theme of Daniel as an alien in a strange land. There has been lots of singing, lots of laughter, crafts and jokes aplenty and space factoids coming out of our ears. We have been fortunate enough to have video messages sent to the holiday club by some real live astronauts, which have had both children and adult jaws dropping.

It is easy to get hooked on the romance of space exploration. Quick as a flash, the obscene amounts of money get forgotten in the thunder of the rockets’ blast and the beauty of the images beamed back from space. To send men and woman hurtling beyond the ‘surly bonds’ of Earth’s gravity and bring them home with tales of the beyond is an amazing thing. Bringing them back, though, is a major part of the exercise! I was growing up during the halcyon days of the Apollo space missions, and remember watching, gripped, as the drama unfolded. When the time came for the astronauts to return to earth, there were agonizing moments after the capsule had turned its trajectory earthwards when all radio contact was lost.  Flickering televisions would show the clouds above the Pacific Ocean, filmed from the deck of a US Navy ship, as all waited for the sight of the returning capsule. Often the TV commentary would fall silent as commentator, crew and audience held their collective breath. Then, at last, the tiny capsule would emerge from the clouds, there would be a sudden bloom of three red and white parachutes, and Mission Control would announce “splashdown”. The mission was complete.

Image: spaceleaders.com

On a day like today, it falls to the preacher to ensure that splashdown happens. The lessons learnt by excited children and weary adult helpers must come home to roost. If the lessons of the infinite cannot land safely in the finite, then the mission has failed. Of course, the reason for those parachutes was not just to add some colour to the scene. Their task was to slow the descent so that the capsule could enter the ocean at a safe speed and the occupants would survive the impact. As preachers we must provide the right kind of parachute so that eternal truths are brought safely home to rest in the heart.

The contents of today’s sermon capsule is this: “trust in the Lord with all your heart” (Proverbs 3 v.5) Please pray for a safe descent through the troubled atmosphere.


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