Grace and peace to you.
An angel from God appeared to Joseph in a dream.
In Matthew’s story of Jesus’ birth and the visit of the magi angels win best supporting actors. You might think of angels as people with wings who flap in and talk to you. Once in a while maybe they take that form. I think of an angel as an awareness from God. In Matthew’s story they’re pretty good with specific instructions: “Go to Egypt and stay there till I tell you.” In general God’s angels are mostly good with encouragement. They take the “supporting role” seriously. And like Santa they mostly work in secret.
Think of this wonder: God doesn’t just disinterestedly look on you from afar. God is actually grateful for you. Your life is a gift to God, and God is thankful! It’s hard for us to trust this remarkable good news. It helps when angels tell us.
You can be an angel. You don’t have to be able to fly. Just encourage people. Just let them know how worthy and beloved they are. Just thank them.
I have a friend who early in Obama’s presidency wrote him a postcard thanking him for doing the job. It felt so right the next day she wrote another. She started writing him a card every day. Then she started writing other people who were doing great things for the world, some great big things and some simple little things. It wasn’t much, just a postcard. Then she got some other people to write them with her. Now she has this thing going she calls the Postcard Underground. It’s kind of secret. Once a week she lets us know of a couple people who are doing positive things for the world, mostly for the environment, but including some other things, mostly here in the US but sometimes internationally. And we all write a postcard to one or both of them. Somewhere someone suddenly gets a mailbox full of cards from all over the country, mostly just signed with a first name, thanking them and encouraging them. I think that’s how angels work.
Most of the time people don’t need instructions. But they could use a little thanks. They could use a little encouragement. There’s plenty of cynicism and even criticism for people who do good, who work for mercy and justice. What they need is a good word. Be an angel. Publicly or secretly, thank them. Encourage them. That’s how God’s light shines in this world.
If you’d like to be a part of the Postcard Underground let me know and I’ll pass your name on to my friend. It’s kind of cool to be an angel.
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