As a Kid, there was this one verse in the bible that intrigued me more than others. Hebrews 13:2 says "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares". I got the gist was of the text was about showing hospitality and kindness to all, regardless if they were familiar to you or not. For a kid, hospitality was easy- it just meant showing them where the toilet is,sharing your Cheezles and giving them a turn on your BMX. But this angel stuff is confusing for a 10 year old. How do you entertain angels? Do you need to get special catering for them? Book a DJ? Perhaps organize a tour to Phillip Island?
A few week ago I think I actually got to experience this verse, but not in a way I imagined when I was a kid. Turns out angels don't ride BMX's. They drive Mercedes.
I was getting off the shuttle bus from my work commute, ready to jump on my scooter (I am aware of how tragically Bond-like my life is) when I spot in the mirrors a big, bronze Mercedes rumbling into the car-park. I smelled this thing before I heard it, oozing diesel fumes and making noise a factory of Prius' could only dream of. It pulled up right next to me. The door popped open slightly, then was helped on the rest of the journey to 'open' by a seasoned, stumpy leg. The owner of the leg, and the car, was a stocky 60 something male with a type of grey-blonde haircut you purchase at a shopping center. His weathered face was looking me over, intently. I was slightly concerned by the dramatic nature of his arrival upon my evening, getting a strong Eastern European organised crime vibe from him. Then he spoke.
"How fast they go?" "What?..." "The scooter." "Oh right. yeah. ummm.. mostly sit on 40 round here but I've had it up to 80km comfortably." "That right? Gee. Never would have thought..."
Our conversation maintained this intensity and depth for another five minutes.
I observed that the Merc Man was very happy to be talking to me. Maybe I resembled a Ukrainian rockstar, maybe he was very lonely. Recounting the story now, it seems sleazy to have a 60 year old man strike up a conversation in a carpark, but I never got those vibes. It was an easy exchange between two beings. He seemed lonely if anything. He wanted someone to talk to about the ownership and economy of scooters, and in that time and place, I could offer that.
So I did.
Driving away, the simple and complete randomness of the exchange stayed with me. It wasn't that an old guy striking up small talk about the weather and auto-parts is that strange, it was the genuine enjoyment the guy seemed to get from the simple conversation and how in turn I enjoyed talking to him. What had just happened? Then that verse came back to me. Maybe I had just entertained an angel?!
So it turns out angels aren't into BMX's but they are intrigued by the mechanics of 150cc German scooters. But shouldn't they turn up and talk me through a big life decision? Comfort me in times of sorrow or doubt? Reveal a mission from God that I must complete with a quirky soundtrack? Aren't angels supposed to have wings, not 1990's era Adidas zip-pants?!
Maybe not. Maybe they are just about simple connections and helping us to realise that, ultimately life is about relationships and the ability to commute urban centers in an efficient manner. Still don't get how the vintage Mercedes fits in.