By Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor
It is interesting whom we are willing to trust. Each time I get on an airplane, I place my life in the hands of a pilot I have never seen. I simply expect that there is a person sitting behind the controls who has been trained and knows what she or he is doing.
In route to a meeting in Chicago, the pilot announced that because of bad weather we were not going to be able to land as scheduled. Instead we were being diverted to Moline where we would refuel and then wait until the weather cleared enough to return to the Chicago O’Hare Airport.
Immediately, I remembered flights when the plane I was on changed flight plans in mid-air. A few years ago, while traveling from Mozambique to Zimbabwe, the aircraft had begun its descent in preparation for landing when it abruptly began to climb again. The silence in the plane was thick and instant. It was broken only by the pilot’s explanation that he had attempted to land but there was no visibility. Since he could not see the landing strip, he did not think we would want him to risk it. Of course, we all were grateful for his wise decision.
Back in February, we made a family trip to Bozeman, Mont. As we were sitting in the airport in Minneapolis waiting for our plane to arrive from Washington, D.C., I could not help but notice a man who exited the plane and went to the person behind the desk at our gate.
When asked what he needed, the man began to say in no uncertain terms that he had to get back on that plane going to Bozeman because he had to get to Helena. He had already missed the plane for which he was scheduled. After a somewhat heated exchange between this man and the Delta agent, he was allowed to get on this flight.
As luck would have, it was too foggy to land in Bozeman. We were diverted to Great Falls. When we arrived in Great Falls, we were told that a bus would take us the 185 miles to Bozeman. As we were waiting in the terminal for the bus, we struck up a conversation with this man.
He asked us why we were in Montana and where we were from. The answer was a family visit and South Carolina. And then he said it, “I guess you have figured out that I am the governor of Montana.” The truth is that we had not figured that out.
He went on to say that it really surprised him what had happened to Mark Sanford. I responded that it is very sad, and added that I had met Jenny Sanford and know her to be a very nice person. Gov. Brian Schweitzer continued, “If you had lined up all 50 governors he would have been the last one that I would have picked to have a mistress in Argentina.” Once again we were reminded of the importance of trust.
As we celebrate Easter, we are inspired by God’s trustworthiness. It is the heart of all that we believe. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The plan that God had in the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus continues to be the focus of all that we do as the church.
It always amazes me how Jesus put his ultimate trust in God. Even as he knelt in the garden asking God if there might be another way, Jesus was willing to trust God completely!
Every now and then I will hear a comment about a lack of trust in the church. This seems to be an issue with both laity and clergy. The reason for this mistrust has many sources.
The matter of trust always comes down to our own trustworthiness. I often think of those early lessons from my parents about the value of being trustworthy. The longer I live the more I see the importance of trusting God and being a person who can be trusted. When we lose our ability to be trusted, we lose our ability to be faithful.
I share this to say that our trustworthiness is one of the most significant parts of our character. We all fail and we all sin, but that does not diminish God’s call upon our lives to be a person who can be trusted. It reminds me of the children’s song that has these lines, “Be careful little life what you do, be careful little life what you do, For the Father up above is looking down in love, be careful little life what you do.”
For Jesus, it was a matter of trust, and it is for us as well.
Have a blessed and joyous Easter.