Posted by Marjorie Ainsborough Decker text© 2011 on Jul 25th, 2009
Hello again Dear Friends of the Fellowship of the Blog,
This week, America is celebrating the forty-year anniversary of Astronaut Neil Armstrong’s historic moon landing. It’s a thrilling fact to remember that he left his footprints, along with an American flag, as a gift to the “man IN the moon” from the first man ON the moon.
Since the creation of flight was God’s idea in the first place, when He filled the air with “every winged fowl after its kind:” (Genesis 1:21). What a provocative sight their flight must have been to Adam, the first man on earth. (Note that Adam, God’s masterpiece, was created after the rest of creation was complete.) He opened his eyes to immediately see the infinite genius of God’s wisdom that lay before him: the breathtaking panorama of an earth filled with wonders, beauty and life.
Then God said, “Have dominion over it all, Adam.” What a gift! What possibilities! And is it possible the thought of flying flickered across Adam’s mind as he watched the first eagle fly across the sky?
That thought, aided by our inventive human curiosity and imagination, did more than flicker across the minds of the two French brothers, Joseph and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier. They were the inventors of the “montgolfière” style hot air balloon. After several years of trial and error, on September 19, 1783 they successfully launched a hot air balloon carrying living creatures in a basket: a sheep, a duck and a rooster. (the Christian Mother Goose balloon would follow 200 years later – honestly!) Read on for that story, after this companion Christian Mother Goose rhyme:
From the very first Christian Mother Goose Book published in 1978, our long-time readers know the part a hot air balloon plays throughout the book series. It began as just an illustration in Volume 1, but then became the real thing in 1982.
At that time, I was writing a script for the video production of “A Day at Dandelion Sea” – a Christian Mother Goose musical. The hot air balloon was essential to the script. So, a beautiful, rainbow Raven RX7 balloon (including its own aircraft number N57225) joined our family. And, like children, what adventures it brought with it!
First of all, our son, Kevin, went off to flight school to become a hot air balloon pilot. His mission? To navigate his mother, (Christian Mother Goose) safely through the skies in a wicker basket! Whew! (And not only once!)
After graduating, Kevin returned home a certified balloon pilot – and we planned the day for our first test flight.
That day, as I actually stood in that small wicker basket, with my destination the blue sky above, I said, “Oh, Lord, what we do for the Gospel’s sake!”
Right then, a roar from the burners above the basket, shot two 16-foot towers of flames into the balloon. Lift off! The 76,000 cubic feet of hot air briskly whisked us up to an altitude of 9,000 feet, soaring through the Colorado Rockies!
Kevin frequently checked four instruments: a pyrometer for heat, an altimeter for height, a variometer to check ascent and descent, and a transponder for radio communication with the chase crew (following us in the balloon van). These modern necessities added a modern flair to the ancient art of wicker baskets. And ancient they are, indeed. Even the patriarch, Moses, began his career floating in a bulrush wicker basket – and look how far he went!
As we floated along, marveling at the fabulous aerial views, Kevin explained to me the physical dynamics of ballooning (wind, contained air, heat, lift and power); bringing us to an interesting conversation of how those dynamics reminded us of the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
The wrinkled fabric of the balloon itself (rightly termed the “envelope”) has no power. When collapsed, it fits into a bag about the size of a wheelbarrow. But filled with hot air, it rises to become a 70-foot high “light bulb” of beauty and power.
The Lord Jesus said in Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me…unto the uttermost part of the earth.” The Holy Spirit breathes the life and power of Christ into the humble fabric of earthlings; smoothing out the wrinkles of our lives, lifting us up to His “blessings in Heavenly places.” Oh, so many Scriptural illustrations, all from a balloon flight.
The montgolfière balloon’s first flight by humans, landed between windmills near Paris. The Christian Mother Goose balloon’s first flight landed in a corn field near Western Colorado’s rural town of Fruita.
Our balloon van chase crew team of Dale, Bradley, Keith, and three friends, was racing through the country roads to assist in securing the stability of our landed balloon. There are “soft” and “hard” landings, depending on the wind of the moment. An errant wind dragged ours into the “very hard” category, needing many helping hands. While Kevin was shutting down valves and wrestling other components, the basket tipped at a 60 degree angle; I tipped too, at the same angle, praying for the chase crew’s arrival…”a-tisket, a-tasket, please come and find our basket!”
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, three sets of hands appeared, grabbing the tether ropes and slowing down our drag. I was able to straighten up and heard two voices loudly asking the Lord for help. The other voice was obviously tipsy (perhaps enjoying his corn in some liquid form?). But, nevertheless, he hung on to the rope in grand style, shouting out strong “Amens” to the others’ prayers. Hurrah! The chase crew arrived, and nine souls mastered a victorious take-down!
Of course, there was a picnic basket of supper for everyone to celebrate our first flight. The “praying hands” man-and-wife couple turned out to be evangelists, and the “corn” man was a kind soul who helped us. He seemed to thoroughly enjoy the happy crowd and our grateful thanks.
So, although we never went to the “uttermost part of the earth,” as Jesus said, we did leave a witness for Him in the cornfield, where the “corn” man truly appeared to have “ears to hear.”
Perhaps I’ll mention other balloon adventures in future blogs. In the meantime, I leave you with these wonderful words of promise: “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy in believing, that ye may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
Cheerio, for now – and Up, Up and Away – with Heavenly Blessings for All!
Christian Mother Goose®
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