Summary: A freindly encouragement and reminder to spend time with the people that God loves most - those forgotten by society. In this case, it follows the death of a member with Alzheimer’s/
Title: Entertaining Angels
Text: Hebrews 11:1-3
FCF: Because Christ is all around us, our love needs to extend not just to the people we know, but to everyone!
SO: I want the congregation to move from an exclusive love to an inclusive love.
When I’d go over to see Marvin Creel, I usually thought about this story.
The story goes that a young boy was walking in the park one day, when he saw an elderly gentlemen sitting on a bench. Overcome by a desire just to sit with him, the boy sat down and proceeded to just to talk and eventually share his lunch of Twinkies and Hohos. They spent a few hours together, and then as it was getting dark, the little boy went home to his mother, and the older man to his wife.
When the boy got home, he shouted to mother – “Mom, Mom, you’ll never guess who I saw in the park today! I ate lunch with God! He had white hair and loving eyes, and he talked with me like I was his only son.”
The older man went home to his wife excited too. “Martha, you’ll never guess who I saw in the park today! I ate lunch with God. Although, I guess I’m a little surprised that God would share his Twinkies with me.”
You guys know that I don’t tend to tell stories of the sort you’d find in Chicken Soup for the Soul, but as I said, it always reminded me of Marvin. Each of us, when we spent time with him were rewarded – because we were loving not just an older man whom we enjoyed, but we were entertaining Christ.
I’m not saying that because Marvin was any more holy than anybody else – I’m saying it because when we visited him, we weren’t doing it with any expectation of reward; we were doing it because we knew that was what our God desired us to do.
So then, why do I say when we loved Marvin, we were actually loving Christ? There’s actually a sound biblical basis for it. We already read the passage most of us think of – you remember, “As surely as you’ve done it to the least of these my brethren, you’ve done it to me.”
But, I want to direct your attention to another passage on a similar theme. Would you turn with me to Hebrews 13:1-3 and we’ll read.
"Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering." (Hebrews 13:1-3, NIV)
Keep on loving. That is the sum and essence of the whole Christian message. Keep on loving.
I used to fancy myself a prophet and I saw it as my mission in life to tear down the arguments of those I thought were wrong. But then I learned the whole point of this thing I called Christianity – keep on loving.
Keep on Loving the Brothers
And who do we keep on loving? The brothers. When you love your brothers and sisters, it is always a joy. You know that your love for the other members of this church is what keeps you going. You keep on loving, and in return you keep feeling love.
You know – that loving, that constant compassion always returns good. I know it’s really popular on caskets to have those praying hands, but do you know who drew them? It was a famous German artist, Albrecht Duerer, who lived around the year 1500.
The story goes that he went to visit an elderly painter friend. When he got there, he found his friend rubbing his arthritic hands, unable to paint. He was so moved that he painted those hands, clasped together in prayer. That painting is nearly 500 years old now, a testament to the love and compassion he had for his friend.
Do not forget to entertain strangers
It is so easy to love our brothers, because we know in the end, we too will be loved. But, if we stop there, have we really continued fully in love?
Nope. That’s why it continues, “but do not forget to entertain strangers.” Strangers – both in our midst and outside of our normal day to day activities. Even in little towns like Middleburg, Halfway, the Plains, Marshall – we have our fill of strangers. Indeed, it’s usually the ones we know best that are the strangest of all.
But seriously, in our tight-knit communities, too often it is too easy to spend our energies only on ourselves. And when we do that, we miss out on seeing Christ! We know that our God is so big and multiple and varied. Why not see him in someone else for a change?