Should deacon, priest, or bishop travel in clericals? What about when traveling on an airplane? I always travel in clericals, should occasion arise to minister. Sometimes it’s appreciated. Sometimes not.
This time on my trip out of Kansas City, dressed in clericals, after the security check, I found a chair opposite to an elderly couple. The flight attendant was giving out tags for the carry-on bags that would be checked in at the entrance, as the plane was a small carrier. So I went to pick up my own tag and in the process picked up two more for this elderly couple. As I returned to the seat, they were getting into the line at the check in counter. I offered them the two tags. I suspect the lady thought I was selling something. She looked at me strangely and refused them, even after explaining that she’d need them, as they had two large carry-ons. Neither my willingness to help, nor my clerical dress impressed the lady. I stuck the tags in my pocket.
Musing on that in the plane beside my wife, I thought I should immortalize the tags before I tossed them in the trash. I set them on the Delta Airlines Sky Magazine and took a picture before the announcement to shut down electronic devices.
Later, I noticed the cover page: Jennifer Lawrence from the movie, Hunger Games. Jennifer Lawrence is poised for Hollywood superstardom with the role of Katniss Everdeen, the badass heroine of The Hunger Games, this spring’s inevitable blockbuster. But while she may be beautiful, don’t expect Lawrence to take it easy. This is a woman who can climb a tree with the best of the boy scouts.(Sky Magazine)
I will have a chance to watch the movie after Easter. In the meantime people tell me that it’s a good movie, likening the heroine to Joan of Arc.
On the return flight to Kansas City, several US Army soldiers were aboard, returning from Afghanistan. I remembered them thankfully to the Lord and wondered if all of their fellow soldiers were safe. I shook hands with one of them and thanked him for his service. So did my wife. Before the take off we usually both pray for the safety of everyone: the pilot, the flight attendants, and passengers. Thanks be to God we have had so many safe travels.
As an honor, the soldiers were allowed to deplane first. The gentleman sitting next to me said, “this is the safest flight I have ever been on, with soldiers and priests.” It was funny, yet a good witnessing to the Lord.
As I stood to collect my bag at the gate, another pilot was returning to the plane and I was in the way. I apologized. He said: “Take your time Father. You do so much of the Lord’s work.” He waited patiently until I got my bags.
Whether praised, blamed, or looked at suspiciously, the clerical collar represents that we are servants for the Lord and that we are at their service always