A Great Crash
On a cold, miserable January afternoon in 1982, Air Florida Flight 90 was waiting for clearance to take off from Washing National Airport to fly back to sunny Tampa. Twice the plane had been de-iced according to FCC regulations, and the copilot noticed that the wings were icing up yet again. He said, "This is a losing battle trying to de-ice those things." He wasn't really all that convinced that the procedure did much good, and the pilot agreed that it only "satisfied the Feds." Neither were alarmed that the idle plane was accumulating more and more ice. And they didn't de-ice a third time.
This brief conversation is history. It is available on tape. That tape was fished out the Potomac River into which the plane plunged after hitting a Washington bridge. As the plane began to take off, the ice that the pilots had chosen to ignore cost them their lives and the lives of 74 of their passengers and 3 other crew members. The pilots didn't mean to kill anyone, but they had become just too comfortable with the "routine" of de-icing procedure. And they had failed to put their knowledge into practice.
In our reading for today from Matthew 7, Jesus ends His "Sermon on the Mount" with a stern warning about hearing and doing.
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24–27)
It is not enough to simply appreciate Jesus teachings or come to believe them as true. It's not enough to accept the wisdom of what he said about turning the other cheek, letting your "Yes" be "Yes," not judging other people harshly and treating others the way that you would want to be treated. We must be willing to put those words into practice in our lives. A ritual "going-through-the-motions" won't move us any closer to the heart of God; we must live out that which we have come to know is true from God's word. "Lip-service" religion that does not touch our heart will only lead us to "a great crash." May God give us the faith and courage to seek to live out the things that we learn from His word.