24 miles. 128,000 feet. 834 miles per hour. One man, Felix Baumgartner, accomplished all this in a space jump from a capsule 24 miles above the desert in New Mexico on October 14, 2012. This event caused a rare occurrence in my home on Sunday afternoon – everyone watched the same thing, together.
Of course, Fearless Felix had an amazing support staff, the latest in technology and instrumentation, a high tech space suit, and dollars in the form of a high profile sponsor.
It was breathtaking to watch as he executed a 119,000+ foot free fall before finally opening his parachute, which enabled him to safely land on his feet.
This brings to mind some of my own reckless adventures. One that required extra angels for protection took place during my college years. I and my little painting company (which included my younger brother and a friend of his) were painting the trim on a three story building in the downtown of a small Wisconsin town. My foot was on the second-from-the-top rung of a 32 foot ladder. I was leaning over to the right and hanging on to the roof with my left hand. On street level, someone steadied the rather unsteady ladder for me. And with my right hand, I painted.
When I returned to earth, I vowed to never do something so foolish again!
And yet, you and I actually know the negative feeling of “free fall” from an emotional and spiritual perspective. We have tried to go it alone without God as our refuge and strength (parachute!). We have insisted that our way is the right way. We have allowed sin to spin out of control in our lives.
If not for God and his mercy and his power to save, we would be lost, spiritually splattered over the desert of our own undoing. Thank him for his grace, and remain connected to his Word and Sacraments. Here alone is the strength to resist spiritual free fall.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (Jesus in John 15:5)
Pastor Stephen Luchterhand