I haven’t traveled much recently. I don’t really remember much about the last airline flight I took but one thing has been brought back to mind. During the safety briefing they always tell those traveling with small children to be sure their mask is in place before assisting the child. That sounds a little strange. Some have even commented that it seems wrong, but I do understand.
If there really is a loss of cabin pressure and you need the masks, it makes sense that you won’t be able to help your children if you aren’t getting oxygen yourself. The instructions are to make sure you are in shape and able to help your children. I know that seems backwards because doing it the other way around seems to be about caring for your children, about doing something for them. But the truth is if you’re not breathing, you can’t help them.
As I said, this was brought to my thoughts recently. I thought of it as I reflected on how often parents are sure to have their babies baptized, how they send them to Sunday school and how they want their children to be confirmed. That struck me as being like wanting to get the oxygen mask on their kids. Now these are good things but that is when it occurred to me “Do the parents have their masks in place?”
In the biblical languages the word for "spirit" and the word for "breath" are the same. As parents we need to be breathing. We need to have our mask in place in order to assist our children. The breath of our faith life is the Holy Spirit; the Spirit who comes and gives life in Holy Baptism.
To sustain that life, the Spirit breathed out the Bible for us. We need to be in God’s Word to ensure our “mask” is in place, and we are breathing and to then help our children breath that inspired Word of God.
Rev. Don Stock is the Associate Pastor at St. Paul's Ev. Lutheran Church in Munster, Indiana.
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