Summary: A New Year’s sermon on what to expect in the coming year. One thing we can certain of: God is in control.

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The man woke up with a jolt. Turbulence had jostled the man from his slumber and painfully he recalled falling asleep on the arm of his seat. Flying for hours in the massive 747, the man in his delirium had forgotten where he was going.

“Do you have any idea where this flight is headed?” he asked the fellow beside him.

“Quiet! I’m watching the movie,” came the rude response. Obviously his neighbor did not share the same concerns. He replaced his headset and continued watching the movie, “Passenger 57” or something like it.

Still not comfortable with his situation, the first man stumbled out of his seat and began looking for like-minded passengers. As he pretended to head to the washroom, he scanned the faces of the various travelers in his economy class section, observing that some slept, some read books, and some watched the movie and others stared out the windows. But some, he noticed, looked agitated and ill at ease. He wondered if they had the same questions that rattled around in his mind.

At that moment, while uncertain he should broach the subject with these worried looking souls, the plane hit an air pocket and dropped like a rock. The experience was loud and painful. That settles it, he thought, I have to find out if someone has a clue what’s going on. And throwing inhibition aside he moved in.

“Excuse me; do you know where this flight is headed? I’ve looked out the windows and don’t recognize anything. Plus, with the air turbulence rattling this old crate, I’m sure I saw some rivets let loose. I can’t help but wonder if the pilot knows what he’s doing on top of all of this.” The words poured out so quickly, he wondered if he sounded like a lunatic. But he was soon reassured by the vigorous head bobbing in the affirmative of the four people he was addressing. They too wondered if there was intelligent life in the cockpit.

“Me and the Mrs. were just saying the same thing,” replied a senior gentleman, “Why back in the war we flew our crates with maps and this.” He tapped his noggin. “Now they fly these things with computers. Who can trust ‘em?”

“So which war was that? World War One?” quipped the young lady behind the elderly couple. But with a brief frown she was largely ignored.

Things got serious as the new friends talked in hushed tones about the rising crisis. They talked about the pilot’s skills and his ability to manage his crew. They talked about their observations of the terrain, or lack of it, outside their windows. They talked about the reliability of this particular aircraft. And with each detail they grew more and more anxious about their situation.

Finally it was decided that a committee should be struck to evaluate their present course, to look at a map someone just happened to bring along, and to come up with a contingency plan in case the crisis worsened. And someone needed to stand up as a spokesperson and go talk to the captain about these findings. Someone who they felt could speak the captain’s language.

“Well that would be me,” replied the man who started this quest. “I have some experience flying 4-seater Cessnas and am familiar with pilot lingo,” he said confidently. “And I have this…” He pulled down his carry-on bag out of the overhead compartment. From the bag he withdrew a cap with gold leaves around the edge and in bold letters it bellowed “PILOT.” Everyone was very impressed.

At that moment the plane hit another huge air pocket that took the wind out of the passengers. The turbulence seemed to be worsening, and that just stiffened the resolve of this little committee.

However, while they were stirring up the courage of their spokesperson, a flight attendant came up and spoke to the man with the impressive hat. “Sir, the captain would like to see you up in the cockpit.”

The man was all of sudden quite nervous. What did the captain want with him? Did he know they were talking about him in a critical manner? What would he say now, given the opportunity to meet the captain? Another jolt of turbulence reminded him that he had a responsibility to speak the truth. He would tell the captain about their doubts and their lack of confidence that this pilot could lead them to their destination.

As the flight attendant led him down the corridor and up the steps towards the flight deck and cockpit, he reviewed his speech. Passing through first class, he felt a twinge of nerves, but was resolved nonetheless.

At last, they reached the door guarded by two well-armed air marshals. With a nod from the flight attendant, the marshals stepped aside and opened the door. This was it.

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