Safe in the air
PEOPLE around the world have been saddened by recent tragic plane crashes. A television news broadcast, discussing certain crashes and comparing them, theorized about which rows of seating would give passengers ``the best chance'' of possible escape and survival. Throughout the discussion, the words ``chance'' and ``odds'' kept cropping up in relation to various factors. Can we only ``hope for the best'' when boarding a plane? There is much more we can do to experience safe travel for ourselves and to contribute to air safety in general. We can pray. Sometimes prayer is misunderstood and underestimated. When I was a child, a relative often used the phrase ``on a wing and a prayer.'' When he used this expression, he was talking about luck--barely making it under the most tenuous circumstances. Sometimes our sense of prayer is along this line--that it's a rather uncertain form of help that may or may not work. Christian Science, in harmony with the teachings of Christ Jesus, develops our sense of prayer so that we see its possibilities in terms of scientific certainty. We don't pray to be lucky. That would suggest we hoped to influence Providence in our favor, as if God considered various options. Certainly Jesus' prayers were on an infinitely higher basis. Prayer in its deepest sense, in its scientific sense, removes the notion of chance, because it's anchored in an understanding that God, divine Mind, rules the universe according to unerring spiritual laws. In this spiritual universe--the actual and only reality--all ideas and objects are upheld in perfection, governed by the law of divine Love. Mistakes and chaos are impossible under God's government. And this truth is applicable to our present experience, to what we perceive as material existence subject to chance. In the Christian Science textbook Mary Baker Eddy1 writes: ``Accidents are unknown to God, or immortal Mind, and we must leave the mortal basis of belief and 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. ``Under divine Providence there can be no accidents, since there is no room for imperfection in perfection.'' 2 This truth is not an abstraction. Knowing it deeply, reasoning with it spiritually, is a form of prayer that strengthens us and helps us to see God's control, even under difficult circumstances. To know that God rules and directs unerringly can have a beneficial effect more wide-ranging than we imagine. It can help crew, passengers, mechanics, and others to feel this unerring direction. It can still fears. It has a correcting, guiding, healing effect. An honest prayer is a humble, continuing prayer. Praying to realize that there are no ``laws of chance'' that can result in accident, and yet appealing to ``laws of chance'' in gambling or other ``chance'' activities, would be inconsistent. Let's support a clear, intelligent, honest acknowledgment that God's goodness is unceasing and impartial. Every single individual is loved by God and held in His care. This is divine law. Strengthened by prayer, we'll come to see God's loving care more and more throughout our experiences. Faith in materially based reasoning and statistics will give way to a smooth, undisturbed conviction of God's omnipresent power and loving control. The Psalmist must have felt the divine presence when he sang of God: ``Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? . . . If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.'' 3 1 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 424. 3 Psalms 139:7, 9, 10.