Steve Leckart’s Wired Magazine article “Launching a Shuttle: NASA Countdown to Blastoff” outlines the massive checklist required before a space shuttle ever leaves the launchpad. I find some interesting similarities and application for us as we prepare for YCNL’s LAUNCH and also for anyone who desires to step into something great for God. Over the next few days as we get ready I hope we making these preparations.
First there’s the oxygen purge. Leckart states:”From tanks on the ground, crews fill the shuttle’s payload bay and aft compartment with gaseous nitrogen to lower oxygen levels — on Apollo 1, oxygen on board caught fire during a test and killed the crew. A proper oxygen purge necessitates a stable flow rate of 180 pounds per minute. Should the concentration of nitrogen leaving the orbiter’s vent doors change at any time during the countdown, then the hazardous gas detection engineer must alert the team responsible for monitoring the payload bay.”
The proper mix and amount of oxygen is vital for launch. Oxygen is also vital for life. It is just as vital for spiritual vitality and mission success. No matter if you are a key leader, volunteer, guest, chaperone, or participant you’ve got to be able to breathe. Even Apple gets it. In fact, Apple watch just released an app to remind wearers to stop and breathe. Kind of silly in a sense until you look at the pace and frenzy of activity we sometimes allow to creep into our lives. We need to learn to get that right oxygen mix in our lungs to be healthy spiritually and to accomplish the mission before us.
Before we launch we need to stop and breathe in some holy air. We must remember where our breath comes from and how much we need God’s sustaining grace to lift us and prepare us for what He wants to do in us before He ever does anything through us. So slow down and check your oxygen level. Before you check your ‘to do list’. Before you pack your luggage. Before you have another meeting. Before you answer another email. Invite the Spirit to breathe in you. Then take a deep breath. His breath.
St. Augustine was Bishop of Hippo in North Africa in the 4th-5th century and one of the most influential Christian leaders in church history. His ancient “Prayer to the Holy Spirit” is a great invitation for God to work first in us so He can work through us. Let his words be yours as you get ready to launch whatever He has called you to do.
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.