Southwest Sunrise Service

This morning’s very early flight started as ordinary as any other: Some folks looked hungover; some probably were. Some wore yoga pants in attempt to class it up a notch above the pajama pants wearers; others seemed to still be in their Saturday night getup.

Then, at some point after the distribution of peanuts and caffeine, and “the seatbelt sign is now off” announcement, the flight attendant requested everyone’s attention once more. She informed us that there was a passenger on board, Vicki, who was celebrating her 60th birthday today and was continuing on to Vegas with 14 friends. Before the jet broke into an early morning sunrise edition of Happy Birthday, the flight attendant continued sharing that Vicki is also a cancer survivor. She instructed us to close all the window panels and press our flight attendant call buttons. As we did, she said, “We can’t have candles on the plane, but hopefully these little lights show you you’ve got supporters on your special day.” The cabin then broke into applause and song while the make shift luminaries glimmered above each row of seats. It was by far the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen in the clouds at 20,000 feet.

Vicki, I hope you win big and have the celebration of a lifetime  in Vegas! Although, with your 14 friends, desire to kick cancer’s butt, and a Boeing 737 jet full of cheering strangers, it looks to me like you already hit the jackpot.

And, Southwest flight attendant, thank you for leading church in the sky this morning as the sun came up to greet the day. It was one of the most meaningful Sunday morning services I’ve ever attended.


  1. Sophie Maness · · Reply

    Love hearing this story!

  2. Lovely. You are always aware of where the holy rests.

  3. You always find the places where God shows up!

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