The church school was getting ready for the annual Easter pageant and all the children were asked to choose which part they wanted to play. One child chose to play Mary Magdalene, other children chose to play Saint Peter, or Joseph of Arimathea, and so forth. But, when it came time for Johnny's turn to choose, he happily wanted to be the angel who rolls away the stone that sealed the tomb of Our Lord.
After the pageant was over and Johnny was going home with his parents, his mother expressed how disappointed they were that he didn't choose a larger, more prominent role in the play. Johnny, however, was bouncing excitedly all over the back seat, obviously thrilled with his performance in the pageant. Finally, his mother turned to him and asked, "Tell me, Johnny, why are you happy about just being the angel who rolls away the stone from the tomb? Wouldn't you have liked to have had a bigger part to play?" Johnny replied quite innocently, "Oh, no, mom, just think! I'm the one who gets to let Jesus jout! What role could be better than that?"
"The myrrh-bearing women arrived just before the dawn at the tomb of the Giver of Life and found an angel seated on the stone whgo spoke these words to them: "Why do you seek the living among the dead? Why do you mourn the Incorruptible among those subject to decay? Go announce the good news to His disciples!" Let us continue to announce the good news and hoyfully sing out "Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!"
Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!
One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, "You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!"
"How in the world did you know that?" asked Plumb.
"I packed your parachute," the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, "I guess it worked!" Plumb assured him, "It sure did. If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't be here today."
Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, "I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat, a bib in the back, and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said 'Good morning, how are you?"' or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor." Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn't know.
Now, Plumb asks his audience, "Who's packing your parachute?" Everyone has some who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory - he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.
Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes.
Who Packed Your Parachute?