Not long ago, at the Emmanuel School of Religion Western Scholarship banquet in Eugene, I heard David Beamer speak about his son, Todd Beamer, hero of United Flight 93 on that fateful day of September 11, 2001. He spoke of how his son had "made it with man" as a highly successful software salesman. In fact, he had won a vacation in Rome through his sales and on the day before 9/11 he and his wife ended their time in Rome.
They returned to Boston and he boarded Flight 93 to San Francisco, early on September 11. He planned to fly back to Boston after business in SF that night, but as we know, he and all other passengers on the hijacked plane died that day. We know his last words because he made contact by telephone with an operator. He gave her a message for his wife, said the Lord's prayer, and then was heard to say to others around him, "Are you ready? Lets roll." These were the last words that we heard him speak.
On September 11, his father said, Todd died a Christian. As he put it, "Todd had it made with God as well as with man." Then his father added this puzzling sentence: "Its all about the day before." I thought, what does he mean, its all about the day before? He explained, "You see, Todd had it made with God the day before and the day before that, and the day before that ..."
Yes, its all about the day before. We cannot wait until the crisis comes to establish our relationship with God and be ready for whatever comes. Long before Todd Beamer and others like him, Jesus provided a model of readiness through a relationship with God. He too had some last words for his disciples, recorded in John 16:32-33:
The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered ... and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have said this to you so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world.
He was not alone as he went to the cross; the Father was with him. He could say, therefore, "I have conquered the world." All who face a crisis with God, as Paul said, are "more than conquerors," no matter what the outcome is. Jesus was ready when the crisis came because he was ready on the day before, and the day before that ..."
There is no better place for us to renew our relationship with God the Father and with Christ our Savior and be ready for whatever crisis may come than at the Table of the Lord. Here we renew our covenant with him, receive the forgiveness of our sins, and refresh our faith.