Danger Zone

Running On Fumes

For a while now, and before the current crisis all of us face today, I had been thinking about this old saying. Of course it was most commonly used, more often in the past than now, when driving a car and the needle was showing empty but the car was still running. Often also, during WW2, our aircraft appeared to make it home in the same way – or so it was said! But the fact is that the possibility of anything running on fumes, if not extremely unlikely, even if true, would have a very limited effect and be extremely short lived!

My thinking was drawn to this saying after listening in recent days to a couple of highly regarded academics Рone a historian and one a philosopher Рneither of whom were religious. However, both had had come to the conclusion that the societies of the western world, in their culture, worldview, civic and moral behaviour and regard for human rights and values, had drawn heavily, if not exclusively from the Christian ethic on which  they were founded.

They went on to speculate that if these values and that faith on which they were founded, was disregarded, as indeed they saw happening throughout our culture, there would come a point when all of these things, which we have taken for granted, would disintegrate. Drawing on history they saw brutal societies where no human rights existed, no regard for one’s neighbour, no care for the poor or elderly and where the survival of the fittest or most powerful was all that mattered.

The trajectory of a society, they imply in their writings and lectures, which has no place for faith and God is ever downwards towards despair and destruction.

I suspect today we have run out of fumes! And the only solution is a return to the filling station!

Of course the Christian is not exempt from this problem. Too many of us rely on the fuel of yesterday and are running on fumes today. Old victories, old passion, old faith – the fuel of yesterday – may keep us going for a while – but we too need to return to the The Filling Station if we are to make the journey. And what is that filling? Perhaps best said in the words of an old hymn –

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with Thee I will one will,
To do and to endure.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Till I am wholly Thine,
Until this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
So shall I never die,
But live with Thee the perfect life
Of Thine eternity.

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