Sermon Illustrations

It was 1972 and a Rugby team from Uruguay was flying over the Andes mountains to play in a championship game. But on the way the plane crashes into a mountain. A film was made that details the ordeal entitled Alive. Of the 45 passengers, which included the team and some of their family members, only 16 survived. It was a ruthless ordeal of cold, wind and starvation. After 70 days, three of the young men decided to try and hike out to find help. It was a grueling climb through the Andes mountains. As they reach the top of yet another mountain, two of the men look out over what appears to be an endless horizon of mountains. As they stand there gazing at what was at once a horrible and breathtaking scene of mountain range, the two men react in totally different ways. One of them says, “Mountains. Nothing but mountains! We’ve had it. We’ve completely had it!” And then he falls to the ground because of physical and emotional exhaustion. He is in complete despair. But the other man responds, “No, we haven’t. Into these mountains somewhere there is a green valley. See the mountains over there? There’s no snow on them.” “Those mountains must be 50 miles away. Do you think we can walk 50 miles?” Canessa responds. “If we have to, we will,” says Nando. Canessa says, “I can’t.” “Yes you can.” “I can’t. I’m not as strong as you.” Nando walks over to Canessa, kneels beside him, and says: “You know what it is that we’ve lived this long the way we have? Seventy days. That we climbed these mountains? You know what it is? It’s impossible. It’s impossible, and we did it. I’m proud to be a man on a day like this. Alive. That I lived to see it. And see it in such a place. Take it in.” He stands up and looks around him. “I love you, man. Look. It’s magnificent. It’s God. It’ll carry us over every stone. I swear. I swear it to you.” Nando turns around to look at Canessa, now standing. They agree to send the third man back to the plane and take his extra food. Nando stands beside Canessa and points. “You see where the sun’s going to set. That way’s west. Into the west of the green valleys of Chile.” “We’re going to die, you know,” Canessa insists. Nando declares, “Maybe. But if we die, we’re going to die walking.”

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