Every time I get in my airplane to fly, I am required to get a current weather report. In aviation lingo, its called an ATIS (automatic terminal information service) report. I tune my comms to a designated frequency and listen to a recording that is updated about every 20 minutes by an air traffic controller. The report tells me about conditions at the airfield. I hear the latest wind direction and speeds, temperature, dewpoint, altimeter setting, and any service issues such as a taxiway closed or a lighting system out.
When I am coming in to land at an airfield, I repeat the same process. Ten miles out, I tune to the designated frequency, write down the critical information, and then calculate my approach to landing.
I’ve received ATIS reports hundreds of times during my flying career. Never once has an ATIS report said “CAUTION: The surface of the earth is warming and sea levels are rising.” It’s never once said “Notice to Airmen: Wildfires in the west are gaining in speed and intensity every year.”
I receive weather reports almost every day that never tell me about the large scale, major shifts in weather patterns that are changing our planet. They are not designed to. They are designed to tell me about the weather at my specific location at the surface. They are designed to speak to a certain reality at a certain altitude. But they leave me blind to the bigger weather picture threatening our collective survival.
Scale matters. This time of financial meltdown, climate breakdown, Covid lockdown and racial throwdown are revealing the global, systemic undoing of a world order that has finally run its course. Perhaps this moment was inevitable; we just didn’t have access to a scale of vision to put all of the pieces together. Or perhaps we did and decided we didn’t want to listen to that report.
You might remember in Matthew 13:16 when Jesus said, “Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.” He was praising the disciples for seeing beyond their comfort zones, beyond their normal perceptions, beyond their standard altitude.
So too must it be with us. The world is remaking itself, and the Spirit is moving in ways previously unseen. May we have the eyes to see, the ears to hear and courage to fly high. See you in the clouds.
We are in this together,