Flying with a Fallen Soldier

The 90-minute flight ended as the plane landed and the pilot’s voice rang through the speaker above our heads.

Fallen soldier

“Welcome to Springfield. We have some very special passengers on this flight. We have been privileged to carry a fallen soldier to his final rest. His family is with us and, out of respect and gratefulness, please remain seated as they make their way off the aircraft first. We thank them for their sacrifice.”

Hush fell upon us. The passengers were silent except for the sniffling and soft weeping heard in almost every row.

A group of people rose and made their way down the aisle; two middle-aged adults, probably the soldier’s parents and a young woman, possibly his wife, and a little boy, doubtlessly the soldier’s son. As they walked, I could feel the rise of emotion on the plane.

It was profound to think that what seemed to be an ordinary flight for me, just one of many, was really a privileged encounter I was unaware of. The passengers on my flight that day were party to a sacred experience … we didn’t even know it until it was over.

The sacred laid among us and we almost missed it.

How often is that true of me?

C.S. Lewis says in “The Weight of Glory” that there are no ordinary people. That you, a person of Christ, have never encountered a mere mortal. In context of Lewis’ message, he observed that each of us bear the likeness and reflect the glory of the Creator.

In each encounter, there is a sacredness that carries the weight of glory. Next to Christ Himself, our brothers and sisters in the faith are the holiest things around us.

Have you noticed?

Next to Christ Himself, our brothers and sisters in the faith are the holiest things around us. [Click to Tweet]

Have you seen the sacred in the secretary, the school bus driver or the second grade girl who rides her bike down your street? Have you observed God’s glory in a gardener or grocery clerk? There are no ordinary people.

I wonder how different my flight would have been if I knew I was flying with the fallen? I wonder if cramped quarters, stale air and annoying engine roar would have escaped my notice if I had tuned into the sacred?

What if you and I really accept the truth that nothing is truly ordinary? There are no moments and no people where God’s glory can’t be glimpsed.

Maybe that’s what Jesus meant when He talked about the hungry and prisoners? Maybe that’s what He referred to when He said, “If you have done it to the least of these, you have done it unto Me.” The sacred is always with us.

Let’s live like it.

That was my sacred moment. Are there any sacred moments you want to share with me?

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