11th October 2016

Ruler of the Kingdom of the Air:
A Story of our Times

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.”
Ephesians 2:1-2 (NIV)

Flight EZY2021 shall linger in the memory long after touchdown. The warning signs appeared in the form of a large group of young men clad in bright orange shirts bundling towards the boarding gate. They belonged to an AFC (football) team. In fact as soon as they came into view my speculation was that as a matter of fate we had been chosen for their companionship. Within minutes of boarding we got a taste of what the following hours would entail, i.e. loud, boorish behaviour with lashings of offensive expletives.

At first the cabin crew gave conciliatory signals no doubt hoping the gang would soon settle, but this was not to be. Sat directly in front of us were four rows of noisy, intoxicated males. Aar! It’s the wonder of budget flights that can whisk us away to all kinds of destinations in a matter of hours.

Fortunately my e-reader bible was at hand to help me settle into a prayerful, philosophical calm trying to ignore the noise, knowing that the reality was this was only a short flight. Unfortunately for some this was not so easy. Others found the continuous use of offensive language difficult to ignore.

The cabin crew were very calm and patient, at one point strategically parking the service trolley in the isle between the orange rows for over an hour. They continued serving the group whilst actually performing a damage limitation excercise—after all there is only so much you can do at 35,000 feet!

As we flew on, the e-bible offered two dominant points; do not fear (1 Peter 3:14) and this was a test (1 Peter 4:12). At about mid flight and after some reflection I heard myself say to my wife ‘this is a test’. The words sounded a bit clumsy but we agreed on the point.

Then about twenty minutes before landing the inevitable happened. A young man sitting adjacent, but not belonging to any group, got out of his seat to remonstrate with some of the worst offenders. There was a threatening stand-off before the flight crew moved in to calm the situation which could have become very challenging.

On landing there was an air of quiet satisfaction as we saw the police board the plane and detain the worst offenders, who on seeing the police had become remarkably silent. Later my wife said to me ‘thanks for the encouragement’. ‘What do you mean?’ I asked. It surprised me that sharing the words ‘this is a test’ was a real help and comfort. The Lord works in mysterious ways and the adversary is like a roaring (and sometimes foul-mouthed) lion (1 Peter 5:8).

Finally, it is easy to be judgemental and condemnatory to those who offend or threaten us but consider this: Ephesians 2:1-9 contain wise words for our times: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions… For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Prayer
Lord God, we pray not to be fearful, judgemental or condemnatory, remembering
it is by grace we have been saved, through faith—and this is not from ourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
Amen

Study by Kevin Harris

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Kevin HarrisAbout the Author:
Kevin Harris attends the Watford Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Watford
St. Peter’s Church
61 Westfield Avenue
Watford, Herts. WD24 7HF

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11AM

Local Congregational Contact:
George Henderson
Phone: 01923-855570
Email: george-sue.henderson@tesco.net

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