Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Christian Contrails

   During the war, both Union and Confederate artillery could fire multiple types of ammunition. Cannonballs were solid, round objects that would ricochet off the ground and kill assembled soldiers, as well as used to target fortifications and enemy artillery. As the enemy got closer, the gunners would switch to canister or grapeshot. The crew would load the gun with a coffee can-sized container filled with small metal balls. Once fired, the can would disintegrate, spreading the balls outward in a cone shape, essentially like a giant shotgun. Along with these deadly cannon munitions a variety of rockets were also used during the Civil War by both sides.

On July 3, 1862, Confederate forces under the command of Jeb Stuart fired rockets at Union troops during the Battle of Harrison’s Landing. What a terrifying sight it must have been for those soldiers to see those streaking trails of white smoke moving across the sky, knowing that in a few moments’ death would be raining down on them. Those white arcing lines obviously would have drawn every soldier’s attention.

We have all seen something similar, but of course less deadly in those white, straight, cloud like lines that crisscross the skies above. They are called Contrails. They are formed from the hot exhaust of passenger jets, which turns into water vapor at high altitude. Contrails definitely grab your attention. These cloud imposters are straight as an arrow, but have short life spans compared to their natural cloud cousins. Within a few minutes they begin to spread apart, fade and are soon gone. That is the two simple facts about Contrails, they get noticed, and they don't last for long. The similarities between the Christian witness in this life, and a Contrail are just as clear. 

The Gospel of Matthew says it like this, "You are the lights of the world, like a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden..."Let your life so shine before men, that they will see your good works, and glorify God who is in heaven."  Matthew 5:14,16 

We need to shine for Jesus before this World. We need to do our best to live a life that catches people's attention, not attention to ourselves, but to the Savior of this world. We need to recognize, that like the fading Contrail, our time to shine for Christ is "limited", too.

Our task is to point the Lost, straight to the Lord. The passenger airliners that make those vaporous paths across the sky, are headed somewhere, they have a destination. So do we! Our hope is if people keep watching us long enough, and our course stays straight and true, maybe the curious will book a flight along with us.

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