On September 29, 1909, a young man took flight in a strange contraption that resembled a huge box kite. As he gained altitude, the pilot manipulated the levers so he could fly over New York Harbor. People looked up in amazement. In the harbor, boats celebrated by sounding their steam whistles. Crowds near the Statue of Liberty exploded with cheers at the sight of Wilbur Wright taking a flight into the heavens.
Wilbur’s brother Orville, who had piloted the first airplane flight 6 years earlier, reflected on their inspiration to fly: “The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who . . . looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space, at full speed, above all obstacles, on the infinite highway of the air.” The Wright brothers spent a great deal of time studying birds in flight before designing their planes.
In Genesis we read that “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (1:1), and He said, “Let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens” (v.20). We applaud the inventiveness of the Wright brothers. Yet, the Creator, who made creatures capable of flight in the first place, deserves the ultimate glory—for the birds and for every other creation He has made!
Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,
Soaring bird and flowing fountain
Call us to rejoice in Thee. —van Dyke