I am not sure that any of us fully grasp and understand the work of angels. If God by the Spirit is present everywhere why do we ‘need’ angels? Yet Scripture is full of references to angels, their interaction with people and they are presented like us as fellow servants of God. They carry out important missions for God and for us. From personal experience there is always a difference that is tangibly felt when angels are explicitly present. Their arrival often brings about a rapid shift in the atmosphere. When we had our offer on a third possible apartment in Oliva the owner had told us not even to talk with him. The estate agent said that in 14 years of working the area he had never experienced the negative reaction we were receiving on this and on a previous property. He suggested we were attracting it! I replied with that could well be possible, but stick with us and it will come through. Nothing changed until the day we sensed we were to connect with the angel of Cádiz, whom we understood was called Gadir (one of the ancient names for the city). We did so and as we left the location within the hour the phone rang and the estate agent’s opening words were “I don’t know what’s happened but the owner has just contacted me to say ‘tell them they can have the apartment'”. Maybe it would have happened anyway… that is so often the way with God. He leaves us to decide whether it was a maybe or we make the connection and learn something from the experience. An important part of connecting with the angelic seems to be location. We went to a specific place in the city to connect on that occasion and we also returned there just a few weeks ago again to renew the connection over another task.
Location, and often location that is liminal, is key. Jacob encountered angels when leaving and when entering land. Boundaries are always important. Another aspect that is very key is that of hospitality.
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it (Hebrews 13:2).
This seems to be a reflection of Abraham who welcomed strangers into his home to discover later that the visitors were in fact angels. The opening of our home might lead to the visitors being angels, or there is an opening for angels as a result of hospitality. (I appreciate that it might not be possible to open one’s home for a variety of reasons, but generosity of heart to the ‘stranger’ is always possible.)
We do not have to understand why God uses angels when our theology suggests God could just do what needs doing, but if this is God’s chosen way we would be wise to just tag along for the ride. (Maybe also this might just highlight that our theology is somewhat off at this point?) The outworking of angelic manifestions might not be directly experienced by us but was brought about through us for angels do not just come for us to give us a nice feeling or a testimony, but work for those who will inherit salvation (Heb. 1: 14). In Acts Peter has a confusing open vision but Cornelius gets the angelic visitation and explanation. Interestingly this happens through a home that has been opened for hospitality.
There are times, I suggest, when angels manifest themselves to people in human form. I have testimonies from people who have come to a place for the first time to be told ‘great to see you again‘ and to be shown the gift they left behind the previous time they were there. Fellow servants. Hospitality and generosity of heart unlocks the work of angels.
So many principles… what if a country opens its doors to strangers? What if a country were to close its doors?
Time for generosity I think.