Mayday! Mayday! How many of you remember hearing those words in a war
movie or television program? Often times the pilot of a plane would shout
mayday into the radio as his damaged plane was falling from the sky. Ships
at sea might send out a mayday if they are in trouble.
Have you ever wondered where the term “mayday” comes from? Back in the
1920’s, a senior airport radio operator in London was asked to develop a
word that would indicate distress and would easily be understood by pilots
and ground staff around the world in an emergency. Since much of the air
traffic at the time was between England and France, he proposed the word
“Mayday” from the French phrase “venez m’aider” which means “come help me.”
Most people know that signaling “mayday” when you’re really not in trouble
is against the law. But did you know that it is also a crime to ignore a
“mayday” call? Think about it. If the U.S. Coast Guard or even a private
craft heard someone’s mayday and did nothing, what would happen? There
have even been cases where emergency responders weren’t listening to their
radios like they should have been and missed a “mayday” call. They were
distracted and people died because they didn’t hear the “mayday”.
People all around us are sending out “mayday” calls. No, I’m not talking
about those whose homes may be on fire or who need an ambulance or a police
officer. There are millions of people who are crying out for help that
only Jesus can provide. Some are crying out, “come help me” with words,
others in more subtle ways. We see them every day. They are the people we
work with. They are our neighbors. They go to school with our children.
They may even be members of our own families. We see them enduring
emotional pain, heartache, disappointments, and discouragement. We can see
from their lives that they have probably never trusted Jesus as their Lord
and Savior. They need the joy that comes from knowing their sins are
forgiven. They need the hope that only Christ can offer.
I would offer that our failure to answer a spiritual “mayday” call is just
as serious if not more serious than someone who ignores a call from a plane
or ship in distress. Is there somebody calling out, “come help me” that we
can answer today? If we can’t hear them, maybe we’re not listening.