Entertaining angels

Image: Samantha Sophia,  Unsplash

Image: Samantha Sophia, Unsplash

Entertaining angels

I remember whilst travelling in Israel/Palestine many years back arriving in a town at night.

We were travelling by car, two of us, looking for somewhere to stay.

We asked a local for directions and ended up being invited to his home, where we were welcomed and given food and somewhere to sleep.

We also got to meet his family the next morning over breakfast.

This incident had a profound effect on me, as I was on the receiving end of what has been called the ‘kindness of strangers’.

This is something I, like many others, have experienced frequently as I travel.

This is also the chosen title of journalist Kate Adie's autobiography.

Maybe you can also think of incidents where you have been on the receiving end of hospitality...

In ‘Cool Britannia’ we can be somewhat slower in offering hospitality.

And it seems that, post-Brexit, incidents of Hate Crime are increasing, as reported in the Independent recently.

Xenophobia is on the rise in Britain (literally the fear of the stranger/foreigner).

The Bible encourages us to ‘practice hospitality’ thereby ‘entertaining angels unawares’ (Hebrews 13:2 ESV). An intriguing phrase…

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares
— Hebrews 13:2 ESV

The answer to xenophobia is to respond in the opposite spirit – ‘philoxenia’ which is the Biblical (Greek) term for generosity or hospitality.

It literally means love of strangers and foreigners.

Go on try it. Practice generosity or hospitality with a stranger.  And maybe just maybe you will encounter an ‘angel’...

Phil - an Anglican minister, who is also a Street Angel, and a part of Mahabba