In Holy Scripture, angels are not an absurdity or curiosity which we are at liberty to reinterpret, to deny or to replace by curiosities of our own invention.
- Karl Barth
This past Sunday afternoon, my friend Lauren went out to do an errand in Harlem. It was late enough that she figured the record number of runners competing in the New York City Marathon, and the crowd watching and cheering them on, would be long gone.
And Lauren was right. Sidewalks were near empty, police were clearing the barricades from the streets. But then Lauren noticed one young girl stretching her neck, obviously trying to see who was coming around the corner next. It seemed the stragglers were still at it after most of their competitors had crossed the finish line in Central Park or had hit the wall and given up on the race altogether.
Sure enough, an older woman came into view, running, but slowly and with a limp. The girl leaped into action, jogging up alongside her, cheering her on. “You are awesome!” the girl coached with a clap of her hands. “I am so proud of you!” Clap. “You are going to finish this race!” Clap.
The runner got her second wind, and with a burst of energy headed toward the finish. The girl watched the woman press on and then, Lauren said, “turned around to see whom she could cheer on next.”
Lauren used to work with us at Angels on Earth. Clearly she knows an angel story when she sees one.
Colleen Hughes is the editor-in-chief of Angels on Earth. She's been at Guideposts for 20 plus years, and lives in a Hudson River town with her two daughters and two cats.