For ten years we lived in Bulimba, an older suburb on the southern side of the Brisbane River – across from the Brisbane airport.
One of elderly couples told me one day that, years before, a relative had told them they wouldn't like it – he had been surveying the flight-paths for the (now old) airport and the planes would go right over their house.
Someone else in the Bulimba congregation remembered that, during the War, the Lancaster bombers seemed as if they would almost clip the tops of the trees on the hill where the manse was. They seemed close enough for us to check their tyres as they flew over, she said.
One Sunday – the day of Pentecost – I was reading from Acts 2, "When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven…" I had to pause while a big jet lumbered overhead. I winked at the congregation as I continued, "…like the rush of a mighty jet!"
I didn't meet anyone in that area who didn't believe in aeroplanes. They had no great love of the periodic noisy interruption of what would otherwise have been a peaceful suburb. However, I did meet quite a number of people who said they "wouldn't be seen dead" in them.
Rather odd, don't you think? It raises the question of what we mean when we say we "believe." Are we talking about belief in the facts? Or do we mean that we are depending on the facts and allowing them to change our actions? These folk "believed" in aeroplanes, but wouldn't trust themselves to them.
Do you believe in God? According to statistics, most people do. There must be a reason behind everything. Whatever we think about origins, it can't all have happened by chance. Do you believe in Jesus? But of course! He was a real historical person. He really lived. His character was exemplary, his teaching incisive, and the evidence for his resurrection compelling.
You believe these things as fact, but do you allow this information to change your life? Are you trusting Jesus as your Saviour and acknowledging him as your Lord?
That's the faith that makes the difference – to us and to the world around us.
© Peter J. Blackburn, Burdekin Link, August 2001