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The Word on the Week

German Wings

This has been a bad week for anyone nervous of flying. The downing of the Airbus A320 in a remote valley of the French Alps by a deranged co-pilot points to the impossibility of having absolute safety in the air. The likelihood is that there will always be something that no one imagined could possibly happen – until it happens!

The horror of Andreas Lubitz the co-pilot locking the security door preventing his Captain returning to the flight deck, after a visit to the loo, was reproduced by the retrieval of the ‘Black Box’ recorder. This was the recorder which captured speech and sounds and proved invaluable in unravelling the mystery of this crash. There is a second recorder which obtains technical data of how the plane was performing which, at the time of writing, has not been found.

So we have the bizarre scene of the Captain wielding an axe to try to smash a way through the security door as the plane journeyed on its 8 minute descent. He had tried to gain access by entering the normal code into the door’s lock which his number 2 prevented from working. Then he tried the special code which, with the co-operation of the person inside the flight deck gave him a 5 seconds emergency release of the lock, but there was no co-operation forthcoming from Andreas.

The irony is that these doors, which were intended to prevent persons of evil intent getting in, now became the stumbling block to security when the evil person was already inside.

The armoured doors facilitated Andreas in his kamikaze mindset to destroy Flight 4U9525. Could it have been that the realisation that he was in sole control of the destiny of 150 people that played into his disturbed mind? We may never know.

Msgr. Jean-Philippe Nault the local bishop was asked, when he visited the site, how could he explain 150 lives snuffed out in an instant? He replied,

“One mustn’t seek explanation. There are no appropriate words.”

It’s easy to identify with the bishop’s sense of helplessness – especially if we listen to the world telling us that we are simply a random collection of particles that has evolved by chance. If that were true these sorts of random acts should be happening all the time. The Bible tells us that Jesus holds it all together (Hebrews Chapter 1 verse 3).

But we are part of God’s creation where not even a sparrow falls to the ground without his knowledge (St Matthew Chapter 10 verse 29). How much more when 159 people die by the reckless action of one man.

Could God have stopped it – certainly. So why didn’t he? Why didn’t he stop it at the cross?

Again the Bible speaks to us in language we can understand. It points to one man, Adam, through whom sin came into the world and how this brought death with it. It tells us of God’s free gift of grace which came by that one man – Jesus Christ. All are in Adam by physical birth while those who have been born again are in Christ (Romans Chapter 5 verses 12-21).

It may just be that life on earth is not top of God’s agenda for us. Eternity beckons!