Thoughts from the Pastor

Entertaining Angels

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. – Hebrews 13:2 NRSV

     This past month our family traveled to Texas and New Mexico to visit several National Parks. We left for our trip on March 12th which just so happens to be Camden’s birthday. While I enjoy traveling there is always a certain level of exhaustion and stress as you traverse airports, pick up rental cars, and pray your luggage joins you at your destination. Trying to keep track of two younger children and needing to get up at 3:30 a.m. to get to the airport added to the normal exhaustion and stress of traveling.

     During on travels on the 12th we had a layover in Dallas and as we were in line waiting to board a plane destined for El Paso, a stranger heard us talking to Camden about getting to fly on an airplane for his Birthday. Before we knew it this man had taken out his wallet, handed Camden five dollars, and wished him a happy birthday! A small but meaningful gesture for a now 9-year-old.

     After we arrived in El Paso and got settled, we found a local restaurant for dinner. We were seated next to a large family who were there celebrating a birthday.  They noticed how sleepy our boys looked and we explained that we had just had a long day of traveling to the area. They were friendly and welcomed us to El Paso; after they had sung Happy Birthday to their family member, they asked us if it would be okay if they offered our boys a piece of cake. They had no clue that it was also Camden’s Birthday and were delighted when they found out!

     These two experiences are seemingly small and fleeting acts of kindness, but they had a powerful impact upon our family. We must never under-estimate the power of a small or random act of kindness. I imagine Camden’s 9th birthday will be a memory we long cherish, retelling the story in the years ahead. After two years of polarization and necessary social distancing, I will confess that it warmed my heart to witness such hospitality alive and well in the world.

     These two experiences reminded me of the passage above from Hebrews which has long been one of my favorite lines of scripture. This idea of “entertaining angels” has always been a powerful if not comical image to me. And yet, it reminds us that our actions, good or bad, impact others in ways that go beyond our comprehension or awareness. We just never truly know what other people are going through and so our God instructs us to add joy into the lives of others. May we embrace the power of hospitality, of showing kindness to strangers, of being a people who spread joy. We might just make a lasting impression upon another person or who knows, entertain some angels in the process. Amen.

                     ~ Pastor Nathan