Lenten Devotion: Unwashed Angels

“Abraham Entertaining the Angels,” Jan Tengnagel (c. 1610-1620)

“Abraham Entertaining the Angels,” Jan Tengnagel (c. 1610-1620)

And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.” Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate. Genesis 18:6-8

The exaggeration of Abraham’s hospitality to three strangers will provide a stark contrast to the malevolence shown by the people of Sodom to two angels who visit that city (Genesis 19:1-11).

God appears to Abraham and Sarah in the form of three strangers. The three strangers appear to be well-mannered and unoffending. But what of the strangers and aliens who come to us unwashed, filthy, drunk or under the influence of other chemicals, rude, unappreciative and otherwise unappealing? Do we treat them with the same respect as the types of strangers who came to Abraham?

Jacqueline Lapsley writes that Abraham models the best way to interact with strangers.

God, blind me to the differences that lead me to judge. Amen.

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