Sunday, May 8, 2011
Not too long ago, my son, Chris, and his wife were traveling by plane from San Francisco to New York. The company was paying for the five-hour flight, but there was only one seat available in business class so one of them got to set up front and one had to sit back in coach. Chris gave Brenda the business class seat and headed back to where he was sitting in the middle of a five-seat row with three small children surrounding him. A man came back to where he was sitting and told (not asked) him to change seats with him so that Chris could sit next to Brenda in business class. Chris indicated where the man would have to sit nodding at the children and their harried mother and declined. The man insisted, and Chris happily rejoined Brenda for the long flight to New York. They were never able to learn the name of their benefactor and just decided he would be 'Mr. Fleming." Since then, anytime a stranger does something nice for them, they say that they have been "Fleminged". They also look for every opportunity to be a "Mr. Fleming" for someone else. This kind act of this nameless man affected them in a powerful way. This is, of course, what Christ meant about "loving one another as I have loved you" and to be a "good Samaritan" whenever possible. If we can live this way, we are changed. We cannot see the world as we did when we were only caring about ourselves. My son says his life has never been the same since. This was for a man exchanging seats and a degree of comfort for several hours. Compare that with the suffering and death that Jesus exchanged for our lives and maybe we can begin to see what is truly important here. We should all be "Mr. Fleming" to those around us, both friends and strangers. Kindness changes the lives of those who give it as well as those who receive it. May each of you get to meet a "Mr. Fleming" every day, and more importantly, may each of you become a "Mr. Fleming" for a stranger. Are there angels? I believe there are. I also believe that you can become one every time you are a "Mr. Fleming" for someone else. Live Christ's love as you received it. As the hymn says, "Freely you have received, freely give."