Like the Blues Brothers, he was on a mission from God. The angel folded his wings carefully and put on a black wool suit. Once a week, he was sent back to earth by the Boss to check on His flock. Today’s mission was to infiltrate a local small-town church. He carefully put on his jacket and finished putting on his earthly clothes. He looked down at his feet; he absolutely despised putting on socks.
St. Saints was a beautiful stone church with exquisite stained glass windows. Huge buildings surrounded the sanctuary. Fancy cars lined the streets as the service began. Bells rang throughout the city, alerting the faithful it was time for the 9 a.m. service.
The angel slipped in the back, wondering if anyone would acknowledge him. An older usher looked at him suspiciously, like the angel was a terrorist or something. The angel smiled and took the bulletin. Grand organ music filled the great hall as families came in their Sunday finest.
The angel felt like a stranger in a God’s own house.
About halfway through the service, the preacher read over the church business. The angel smiled — this usually was the least Godlike moment of any church service. He detected tension in the air as the portly man with a black comb-over mentioned the annual meeting. He knew that there was conflict in the room about many things. He could feel the tension. ”Looking inward instead of outward,” the angel checked another box off his list.
The preacher gave a rousing sermon that no one seemed to listen to about how it was ok to drive a red Mercedes. Then it was time to get up and shake hands with those sitting around him. Everyone looked at him with suspicion. Who was this man with out-of-style glasses and old thread-worn suit? The angel just nodded and smiled. And then checked another box.
The plate passed around the room and the angel put a gold coin in there. A small girl in front of him looked at him and smiled. “I know who you are,” the little girl said with a missing-tooth grin.
“Shhhh” the angel said with an impish grin on his face.
At the end of the service, the angel shook hands with the preacher. The preacher said, “Do I know you?” The angel said, with a smile, “No. But you should.”
That evening, in the annual church meeting, the angel sat in the back of the sanctuary. And once again, he drew suspicious looks. Typical fights broke out over budgets and political agendas as the members made the church’s sausage. The budget was discussed and tensions ran high. New board members were voted on and defeated members walked out with lips out. Members were thrown under the church bus. The angel pulled out his list and checked off another box.
“Excuse me sir, may I help you?” It was one of the people who was taking up ballots.
“No, I’m just passing through.”
“I’m sorry, this meeting is for members only.”
The angel grinned and said, “I will take that into account.” And then he checked off another box.
The little girl who had seen him earlier in the day came running over to him, “It’s OK! He’s my friend! ” And then she gave the angel a giant hug. When she did, she began to glow.
The whole congregation turned to see what the commotion was all about. The angel walked to the front of the sanctuary and pushed the preacher aside. Then, as everyone watched in complete shock, his wings burst through his suit. He then began to glow a most brilliant white as his six-foot wings stretched across the pulpit.
“I came to judge you. And frankly, you failed. I was a stranger and you didn’t take me in. You’re concerned about petty internal fights and not in spreading the good Word through your actions. I have the authority and the power to bring this house of worship down.”
Thunder rocked the building.
The whole congregation gasped. Mrs. Gibby Gabriel cried silently in the back.
“But I won’t. You have been spared.”
Murmurs began to fill the room. “Why?” asked a man with thinning hair.
“This child,” the angel said while holding the little girl’s hand. “This beautiful child accepted me when you turned your back. She has God in her heart. Rebuild your church on her heart’s foundation.”
The angel looked around the room and made contact with every member.
“Consider this a warning. I will be back but in another form to check back up on you.” The angel folded his wings and picked up the little girl. ”What’s your name dear?”
“Mary,” she said.
“Well, Mary, you are truly blessed.”
The little girl leaned over and kissed the angel on the cheek.
He smiled as he began to glow. And with the last rays of the sun; he disappeared.
Gibby Gabriel gasped and then passed out, hitting the ground like a sack of potatoes.
The meeting convened and the congregation walked silently outside into the night (leaving Gibby Gabriel on the floor). The members stopped and looked into the eastern sky. There, glowing brightly, was a large star shining overhead.
St. Saints never was the same after that annual meeting. And in the eyes of an angel, that was a good thing.