Friday, January 18, 2008

A Miracle Indeed

'A miracle' is how one national newspaper in the UK described the crash of a British Airways Boeing 777 at Heathrow airport this week. 136 passengers and 16 crew walked away alive from the wreckage, and only a small number needed hospital treatment for minor injuries. When we view images of how close the aircraft came to plunging into nearby housing or onto a busy highway we are forced to agree with that description, even if it does come from the words of a cynical secular newspaper more used to mocking so called 'acts of God' and dismissing talk of miracles.

One aspect of the story is that in a news conference today the captain, Captain Burkhill, paid tribute to his crew. He said Senior First Officer John Coward had done a "most remarkable job" in landing the aircraft. He also praised all the crew for showing "the highest standards of skill and professionalism". "Flying is about teamwork and we had an outstanding team on board," he said. Clearly however outstanding that crew might have been - and definitely was - it would have been powerless if the circumstances had been different and the aircraft had dropped onto houses or buildings.

But it's not just flying that is about teamwork. Life is too. We need one another, and never more so than when the chips are down and we are sinking fast. We need the encouragement that others bring, and the occasional corrective rebuke too. We each need to be aware of our own unique contribution and make it to the best of our nability, but when things get rough there is something about sharing with others that makes teamwork so important. Mind you, every team, however good it is, needs a helping hand from above sometimes. Captain Burkill's team certainly had theirs, and I pray that you will have yours too.