Do you believe in angels? That is to say, have you ever had an encounter with a person who appeared just when you needed him to and who told you just what you needed to hear?
A couple of weeks ago, on Easter Sunday, I went to the Anglican Church in Dawson City. I like to go to church on Easter. It feels like an appropriate thing to do. I like the singing and the children running around and I like the sense of community.
What I'm not crazy about is the Resurrection story being told as historical fact. I can dig the Bible stories as metaphors but I've done a lot of reading about the historical significance of these stories and they were never, ever meant to be taken literally.
So I'm sitting in church listening to the minister tell me that the story of the empty tomb is historically true and I'm getting madder and madder and I just want to leave or shout something like, "It's a metaphor, dude!" but I know I can't do that so I began to pray instead.
"Help me to have tolerance for these people. Help me to have compassion. Help me. Help me. Help me."
The time came for communion. I'm not baptized and so I stayed in my seat. A man who was sitting in front of me turned around to talk to me while the rest of the congregation filed up to the front. Apparently he was not going up either.
This man had looked back at me a couple of times at the beginning of the service and though I'd smiled at him I had judged him, too. He looked rough, bloodshot eyes, missing teeth, raggedy clothes. I thought, "He's a broken down alcoholic."
He asked me where I was from and I told him. He began to tell me a bit of his story. He spoke of his grandparents, both dead now, who'd lived into their 100's, whom he'd cared for in their final years. He told me about life in the bush and living on the land, the wisdom of his elders and the gifts they had given him. Moved by his kindness, my heart cracked open and eyes filled with tears.
He said, "If the Sun sent us a heating bill we'd all be in debt."
As the service resumed he turned around and faced the front. The light from the giving Sun shone through the stained glass and lit the room anew. The music swelled, filling the whole place up with life. I stood up to sing with the people I'd previously judged. We sang as one.
When I told this story to a friend recently she said, "You met an angel." Angel or man, he opened my heart. I was moved from anger and judgment to love and compassion. I has asked for help and immediately received it.
The real point of the Resurrection story and this story, too, is that there is something Greater at work. There are things that happen that we cannot explain. There is a Power that responds to our needs. This Power is Love.
Inspiring Message of the Day: Yes, I'm actually going to quote ABBA for the IMD: "I believe in angels. Something good in everything I see. I believe in angels. When I know the time is right for me."