Angels unaware

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R-AngelsOf course you never know who you’re inviting into your home. You assume you know these people. But do you really?

Could it be, as the New Testament book of Hebrews suggests, you’re entertaining angels.

(I note here that the Greek word translated in English as “angels” can as easily be translated “messengers.”)

Ok. I’ll save the language lesson for another day. Since I gave up a belief in the supernatural many years ago, I don’t wonder whether the people sitting across the dining room table might be heavenly beings.

Still, even for this old humanist, dinner guests are special people. That emphatically includes the two women, good friends, who joined us for salmon and a chocolate sundae on our back porch last evening.

I had to laugh that I was the only one at the table without a Ph.D.

The evening put me in such good spirits I found myself washing the dishes this morning by hand, rather than loading the dishwasher. Either way, you always have to put them away.

When I toured the Midwest with the college choir, I was on the receiving end of the hospitality. (At the time I was studying for the ministry.) Church members welcomed us to stay in a guest room for the night. I still have warm memories visiting with these kind people late into the evening and over the usually generous breakfast.

From central Ohio to Michigan’s upper peninsula to northern Indiana, the highlight of such tours often turned out to be such visits. Looking back on all that now, I wonder how all those good people put up with a noisy and messy crew of college students.

Years later, when I toured Israel and other parts of the Mideast, I discovered how people there still practiced the biblical tradition of welcoming and entertaining strangers.

I was even offered tea and cookies in one home where the Israeli homesteaders in Gaza would soon be forcibly removed by soldiers to make way for the return of Palestinians as part of the Camp David peace accords.

Here in Fort Wayne, my wife Toni and I have entertained singers here for programs at schools and at the Grand Wayne Center downtown. We’ve even played host to Tibetan nuns visiting the city.

It never fails, I always feel myself enriched with company. Certainly my knowledge of others is expanded. In the end, it’s such a personal reminder that there are a lot of good people in the world.

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