Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Back some years when you boarded a commercial aircraft you could peek into the cockpit and have a gander at all the instruments the flight controls and it was suitably impressive. As a former U.S. Air force air traffic controller, frequent international business flyer and private pilot student I am still fascinated by all things aircraft. Years ago,  boarding a commercial airlines  Lockheed Electra 188 on a business trip, I took a gaze at the complex instrumentation and equipment within the cockpit, and smiled admiringly with just a touch of envy.

On this particular day I took a comfortable seat close to the back of the aircraft and relaxed for a three-hour flight.   A lot of things have changed since those days in terms of procedures and protocols and everything is now much more terse and governed by procedure, regulation and strict enforcement.  But on this day, the flight deck guys became talkative and addressed the passengers over the intercom as we taxied to the runway. 

 It went something like this;  “Well Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Eastern Flight 182,  We have a nice day for our flight.   Our aircraft today is a Lockheed Electra which holds 100 passengers and a crew of 5. “  As we rolled onto the runway and began the takeoff roll the commentary continued “This big old girl has 4 Allison turbo-prop engines driving 4 blade, constant speed, propellers.   She is 106 feet long with a wingspan of 99 feet, all made of heavy metal, carrying 5500 gallons of fuel.  Overall she weighs weighs about 116,000 pounds.  Undoubtedly getting this monster off the ground with all this weight would be a real MIRACLE, but we are going to try!!”    

Then, as the speed increased and the runway 1,000 foot markers flew by, the aircraft rotated, nose wheel lifted and we were airborne accompanied by a big sigh of relief and applause from the passengers and the crew member shouted "HOORAY, It’s a MIRACLE!!!"

Thinking back, it provided me with food for thought about Miracles.  While lifting that big aircraft off the ground looks daunting on the surface, and hearing the facts about the size, the bulk, the weight, trying to lift that huge beast off the ground using only invisible, seemingly substance-less air, sounds impossible, but it is actually all well within the laws of gravity and aerodynamics.   

And, thus, the MIRACLE was not really a miracle!!   Helpful here, maybe, is a definition of Miracle from Webster's dictionary:

mir·a·cle     1.) noun \ˈmir-i-kəl\: an unusual or wonderful event that is believed to be caused by
 1 :  an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs
3:  Christian Science :  a divinely natural phenomenon experienced humanly as the fulfillment of spiritual law.
You can see that the dictionary definition of Miracle from #3, a Christian Science  spiritual view, is somewhat different from the #1 material view. 
I will tell you why…

We often see so-called Miracles in our daily lives.  Without understanding the underlying principles, we often believe them to be just that.  Miracles seem to somehow represent a momentary setting  aside of fixed principles, foundational rules and laws to benefit someone or something.  Folks often think that God, the Creator, the divine Intelligence of the Universe, the Establisher of Rules, sets aside those rules based on a partiality to some sweet, deserving person; an answer to a worthy prayer; a “giving in” due to much crying by the petitioner; the soulful pleading of a church congregation' or, the humble searching of a lonesome pilgrim in the depth of despair.

As I have begun to better understand the teachings of the Prophets in the Bible, and particularly the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, I have started to see that occurrences that SEEM to be Miracles are really just the unfolding of natural law, law based on Spirit and not matter. Our prayers don’t change God or spiritual reality, but they bring us into harmony with, and the understanding of, those laws that were ALWAYS there. God is unchanging Love.

Mary Baker Eddy, in her Bible companion book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures defines miracles this way:   

“Miracle.  That which is divinely natural, but must be learned humanly; a phenomenon of Science. “  (2.).

“The belief that the universe, including man, is governed in general by material laws, but that occasionally Spirit sets aside these laws,this belief belittles omnipotent wisdom, and gives to matter the precedence over Spirit.       (3.)    

Just as with the “seeming miracle” of the Lockheed lifting off into “thin air”, Jesus healed a plethora of diseases, giving sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, restoring a clean character to a woman taken in adultery, even raising several people from death... all in accordance with established laws, spiritual laws. 

Jesus did not set aside the fundamental laws of the universe to help and
heal, just as that pilot did not disregard the law of gravity or invoke some “special law” of aerodynamics just to get me to a business meeting.  

Who could possibly believe that Christ Jesus, the beloved son of God, the obedient servant, would heal someone that God had made ill, or that God had intended to suffer?  He understood that God never made his children to suffer!!   As a matter of fact, in explaining his healing acts, he averred, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. “ (4)    In his loving acts, he saw through the material belief of mortality’s limiting view, the blinders imposed by human belief, and opened the eyes of the beholders to the reality of God’s perfect presence. 

 Jesus of Nazareth, characterized in Science and Health as    “the most scientific man that ever trod the globe. He plunged beneath the material  surface of things, and found the spiritual cause."  (5)

Miracles?  Yes, to human sense.  But not to Jesus, or his disciples.   His yearning hope was that his message of God and Life as Spirit, overcoming the material would be picked up on and continued by his followers was reflected in his words:   "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (6)
And,  “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. (7)   If ye love me, keep my commandments.  (8)

So.. Cleared for takeoff… No Miracle Required!!  Climb to and maintain altitude of spiritual thought, and have a great trip!!  Refreshments will be served en-route!

Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures  591
SH 83
John 8
SH 313
John 8:32
John 14:12
John 14:15


Kaye Cover said...

Well said - there are no coincidences nor miracles - just LOVE unfolding - natural as can be! Thank you!

(You were a pilot, too? What an interesting life you are living, Patrick.)

Anonymous said...

Nice Patrick, it is well said!

Steve Buzash

kelly mac said...

thanks for another 'upward soaring' post and lots of great thougts. Love the reminder that Jesus never healed anyone in contradiction to God's plan.. it was always in the fulfilling of more correct views of God's plan for those who witnessed.

Laura Moliter said...

Thanks, again, Pat. Great post and wonderful ideas as always. I'm totally ready for lift off, and planning on a smooth flight. Keep up the great work...and what exactly ARE the "refreshments" going to be, since you mentioned it! Should I eat before I ascend? ;-)

Patrick Collins said...

Refreshments on the flight will be: Peanuts and Pepsi. I already said there were no Miracles!!!

Melissa Hayden said...

Thanks Pat, as always your flight path is one of humor and inspiration. Way to go - and happy landing!