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  • Sr. Miriam Elizabeth, OSH

Waited On By Angels

After his baptism in the Jordan river, Jesus spent time in the wilderness, and amid a retreat with harsh temptations, danger and difficulty, “the angels waited on him” (Mark 1:13). Did they feed him? Bring him water? Cushion his head in sleep? Tend his wounds? Wipe his tears? I’ve always wondered.

 

Throughout our scriptures, angels are often described with human characteristics. They are sent as messengers to protect people and to proclaim the way and will of God. They stand, walk, speak, and touch. In many instances they look like people and yet, it is clear they are not people with superpowers or a special connection with the Holy One. They are not humans who turn into angels after death. God created angels separately from human beings, as something else entirely.

 

Angels are spoken of in the scriptures, but are they around today? The reading from the first Sunday in Lent (Mark 1:9-15), that includes the quote above, sent me looking for angels in my life; those messengers of presence, protection and proclamation. I recently attended a quilt show in Raleigh where I believe I might have been waited on by angels.


There were hundreds of quilts on display, and I was taking my time, soaking in the artistry, the colors, the details of piecing and stitching, the bold messages of the quilters. Like many artists, some quilters use their medium to process what is happening in the world and in their lives. There were quilts referencing illness, racism, death of a loved one, parenthood, gun violence, democracy, and much more. As I was viewing the quilts, I rounded a corner and saw a quilt that took me by surprise. I stood in front of that quilt and wept.

 

The quilt was beautiful and heartbreaking; a memorial and a stark reminder of the children and teachers killed in the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.1 While I ugly cried, two women stepped up to stand beside me. One handed me tissues. They waved other people away from me, protecting me from the crowd. They stood quietly with me until I stopped crying, then gently led me to a chair and handed me water to drink. We parted a few minutes later. I saw the women again the next day in a group conversing about whether such quilts should be in a quilt show and one of them said, "Watching you cry made me realize those quilts aren't talking about issues. They're talking about people."

 

Those two women were the epitome of presence, protection and proclamation. Perhaps they were indeed angels, created by God to lead and accompany people to the thin places where heaven and earth overlap, where the will and the way of God are revealed in their care and their message. I will never forget them or their message.

 

–Sr. Miriam Elizabeth, OSH

 

When have you perhaps been waited on by angels? As Holy Week approaches, what do you need in the way of presence, protection or proclamation?

 

1 “Uvalde, Texas” won first place in the Use of Negative Space category at QuiltCon 2024. You can view the quilt here: https://quiltcon.com/quiltcon-2024-winners/.

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barbara.fornoff
Apr 03
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you Sister for this post. I have been a believer in angels since my childhood and had a holy poster of guardian angels that reminded me they are always near me. It is a challenge to remember they are always near, reminding us of God's presence all around us. Some angels were there to witness your sorrow, and lift you up as a witness.

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srmiriamelizabethosh
5 days ago
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Barbara, yes, angels do indeed remind us of the near presence of God!

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susansuejac
Mar 25
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

What a wonderful post about the Angels. Yes! Many times I have felt I have been aided and approached by Angels. When my mother passed, I was on the way to my sister's house after the funeral. My car broke down on a busy highway. I was frightened. A lady, stopped and waved the traffic around me (a big chance she took on that busy highway) and someone called the police to come. And, two sweet little young waitresses from a restaurant came out with a large iced soft drink for me. They said they figured I could use it. Yep! All of those beautiful people were angels sent to me. I think maybe my Mother may have been one…

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srmiriamelizabethosh
5 days ago
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Susan, I'm so glad so many folks came to your aid! A difficult day. I hope those she stepped up made it a little easier.

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Elizabeth Kaeton
Elizabeth Kaeton
Mar 18
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you for this reflection which was, all at once, both lovely and powerful.

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srmiriamelizabethosh
5 days ago
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Thank you Elizabeth. I'm glad the post spoke to you. Peace be with you!

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