The tragic crash of a Brazilian airliner earlier this week has resonated throughout civil aviation in that country. Safety concerns at São Paulo's Congonhas Airport led a judge in February to prohibit large planes from landing there. Although his ruling was overturned by a higher court concerned about the economic impact of the closure, this week's events will no doubt lead to changes for the better.
These efforts may provide some comfort for the affected families, and our prayers can also support their progress as well as safe travel for ourselves and others.
Even though there has been loss of life, it's useful to affirm that God is present with the families and also with those who have been lost. Right now, divine Life – the source of all life – is with them, caring for all who remain behind and those who have gone on. Jesus spoke on more than one occasion of God's love for all of His children and of His daily provision for their needs.
This verse from the book of Isaiah speaks eloquently of God's inseparable relation with us: "Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands" (49:16). It reminds me that life comes from God, and, as Jesus taught, God is with us through eternity, even though we can't always understand how God keeps and preserves those who have passed away.
With vacation travel – including flights – in high season, it's also useful to pray for safety from accidents. The same God who keeps us as close as the lines on His hands (to use the Bible's image) does not subject any of His children to the vagaries of chance. Divine intelligence can guide the pilots and all the professionals associated with a flight – and drivers on the roads, train personnel, and captains and crews on ships.
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper, made this point very directly in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "...we ... must unite with the one Mind, in order to change the notion of chance to the proper sense of God's unerring direction and thus bring out harmony" (p. 424).
Active prayer for the safety of a flight can be as simple as repeating the Lord's Prayer, with the flight in thought. Or it can go further and affirm that, right then, the one divine Mind is guiding each individual associated with that flight – providing intelligence, foresight, wisdom, and focus so that all details are dealt with correctly and nothing is left out.
While I was waiting to take a pre-Thanksgiving flight in the United States, where I live – one of the busiest flight times of the year in the US – everything seemed incredibly chaotic at the airport. I prayed intensely to reach a point where I could feel "God's unerring direction" in my surroundings. Time passed, the flight was delayed. I continued to pray. A while later, we were told that a problem with the aircraft had been discovered and that it was being repaired.
I can't say that my prayers helped uncover the problem with the airplane, but the affirmation of "God's unerring direction" would certainly have supported the mechanics and others who were preparing the plane for flight.
It's also good to pray along similar lines when the plane is landing. Divine intelligence is present to guide the crew and all who are associated with that flight and all the other flights using the airport.
Prayer is one way any passenger can contribute to the safety of a flight and also gain the peace of feeling God's presence from takeoff to landing.
Lo, I am with you alway,
even unto the end of the world.