Advent 2022: Sun 4 Dec

Hebrews 13:1-2

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

This throwaway line from the writer of Hebrews about entertaining angels is a delight to ponder. God uses angels as messengers. They do not always manifest themselves in their raw brightness – it might not always be appropriate. They might look just like you and me. Artists seldom portray angels plainly dressed!

You might wonder why angels would submit themselves to hospitality. Did Abraham’s visitors (we’ll discuss them later in these reflections) actually need feeding? Not at all, but Abraham was not going to let them go without offering the hospitality of his home to them. Would you like to discover that you have entertained an angel without knowing it? If you would, then you might need to keep a home that is an open and welcoming to strangers. You will never entertain an angel over lunch if you only ever invite your friends round!

You might also like to turn this round and wonder if you might ever have been in the presence of angels who have been sent to help you. Has a stranger or strangers shown you kindness or helped you in a difficult situation, and you felt that this was a timely and appropriate action beyond coincidence? People have witnessed to angelic interventions in their lives following an encounter with what they thought was a stranger.

If you have a story, why not test it out on someone you trust, and then tell others. I have to say, of course, that there is higher service we can do than showing hospitality to angels.

Do you have an angel experience to share?

How open is your hospitality?

Have you ever heard or felt the gentle flutter of wings?

Father God, I do not seek to see angels – I can wait until I get to see them all. I do seek, however, to see evidence of your hand at work in my world in freedom, healing and restoration, and I pray that you use me in bringing about your purposes. Amen.