Entertaining angels



Light for the Way devotional seriesWe invite you to take a peek inside our weekly Light for the Way devotional series provided for staff.

By Chaplain Jenny Schroedel, Optage Hospice

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” —Hebrews 13:2, ESV

This week we continue with our 2023 pastoral care theme, “Know God, Love God, Serve God,” with another way we can serve God – by practicing hospitality.

Hebrews 13:2 is a reference to Abraham and Sarah’s care for three men who visit them in Genesis 18. Abraham was sitting outside in the heat of the day when they approached. He ran out to meet them, bowed before them and invited them home to rest. He and Sarah assembled a feast, and then the strangers offered them the blessing they had waited a lifetime for: that year, Sarah would bear a child. Because she was an old woman, she laughed at this, but the stranger chided her, and asked, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”

In my ministry providing grief support for Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS) communities, I often hear stories from residents about painful exile from the lives they knew. Due to a threshold event such as the death of spouse, a new diagnosis or a serious fall, the life they knew suddenly becomes unlivable and they must make a change. In the midst of this transition, we offer a profound gift. One resident told me that she was drawn to PHS because of the atmosphere we create.

This is hospitality. Not unlike Abraham and Sarah who cared for their guests’ every need, we have the opportunity each day to offer rest, refreshment and nourishment to the residents and families who come to us.

We soothe their pain, nurture their souls and provide shelter during an unsettled season.

We do not know exactly who the three men are in Genesis 18. The one thing that is clear is that Abraham and Sarah invite them in with wide open hearts. They offer the best of themselves to care for them, and they are richly blessed in return.

May we also be blessed in the work we do each day to care for our residents and families. And may we never forget that by doing so we may also be entertaining angels unawares.

Chaplain Jenny SchroedelOptage Hospice Chaplain Jenny Schroedel facilitates grief groups across PHS sites and in the larger community. She lived in Hawaii for a decade, before returning home to Minnesota. In Hawaii she worked as Director of Bereavement Services and helped found Hospice of Kona’s Maluihi Grief Center. Jenny is also an author, most recently of Naming The Child: Hope-filled Reflections on Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Death. 

The Light for the Way series provides staff with an examination of a biblical reading to deepen our focus on scripture. Thank you for engaging with this series as we seek wisdom through prayer and reflection as a Christian Ministry.



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