Time for a Flyover
In one eventful summer, our church organized a grand outdoor production, one of those classic patriotic celebrations complete with fireworks, food trucks, games, inflatables, band, orchestra, choir, military color guard and the works! It was a spectacular affair, and we wanted to make it even more special by arranging for a local airshow flyover during the singing of our National Anthem.
As the big day approached, we were determined to get the timing of the flyover just right. We’ve all seen those moments at professional sports games when jets soar overhead precisely on cue, and I didn’t want to disappoint. It had to be perfectly timed, but achieving that was easier said than done. Seriously, how hard could wind speed, radio communication, flight path clearance, FAA approval, insurance for plane crashes – what could go wrong?
The grand moment arrived, and the airshow radio communication signaled, “They’re too early!” Panic set in as I signaled the vocalist to start singing immediately. She was a pro and remained calm under pressure, knowing we had to keep things moving to make the timing work. She began singing the national anthem at a fairly brisk pace, which might have seemed too fast for most musicians, but we had a “plane to catch.”
The radio guy’s voice grew even more frantic, announcing that the planes were almost here! I found myself now conducting the vocalist, urging her to sing faster and faster. Her eyes met mine and silently questioned my conducting speed as she sang, “What so proudly we hailed…” Then came the shocking announcement, “I’m sending them around!” Wait — what?! I couldn’t believe it. The radio guy thought he was helping, not realizing that our timing was on track for a beautifully timed, albeit fast, rendition of the National Anthem.
In the distance, I spotted four planes briskly banking their wings into a tight circle for a ill-timed “go around.” I thought to myself, “We can still do this!” So, I immediately started conducting slower. And slower. And sloooowerr. The vocalist’s eyes met mine again — but this time conveyed confusion as she continued singing, “…and the roooockets reeeeeed glaaaaaaaarre…” The switch to this slow speed was so slow that now the non-musicians in the crowd began to wonder what was wrong with this woman. Little did they know that she was a phenomenal vocalist caught in a confused conundrum.
Finally, the planes make their last bank for the bewildered crowd as the singer belts out the final elongated “…of the Braaaaaaaaaave.” As the vocalist ended her drawn-out note, the aircraft were still five seconds away from what was supposed to be an amazing moment. Waiting for five seconds after this rendition of the National Anthem felt like an eternity. When the planes finally did pass over, people applauded and found it a delight, and everyone accepting the “typical church” event timing.
Timing sometimes doesn’t align with our meticulously planned visions of our preferred future. When Jesus arrived on the scene, timing seemed off in many aspects — yet perfectly aligned in others. His birth in a crowded place with no room for his parents appeared poorly timed, but the visit of the kings guided by the stars — well only God can perfectly time that.
In your church gatherings, planning for ideal timing is fine, whether it’s syncing a dotted 8th delay on a worship-U2 electric guitar or coordinating a perfect moment synchronized with the musicians. However, as humans, we might not get it right every time. Remember, God can work through both seemingly perfectly timed and ill-timed moments. It can reveal our humanity while highlighting the perfection of who He is.
Galatians 4:4 “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law.”
This verse shows Jesus’ arrival on Earth occurred at the perfect, predetermined time in God’s plan, reminding us that divine timing is always at play.