Friday, November 26, 2010

Guardian Angels at Work

Yesterday the Hitel family of Riverside was driving through Pennsylvania on their way to Ohio. The road was beginning to ice over. Without warning, their car slewed, went into a spin and veered off the roadway, flipped over, righted itself, and crashed into a stand of trees. The car was totalled:

Fortunately, the whole family survived unscathed. Jamie Hitel, his wife Sarah Harris, and their children, Gabi, Maddy, and William, walked away from the wreck in one piece. As Jamie put it, "I was driving west, but after some wet snow on I-80 am now facing east. But thankful to be alive. Could have been much worse."

Typical British humor and understatement, as usual (although Jamie and Sarah recently became US citizens). Jamie, as many folks in this Town know, is the Director of Music at Christ Church. His elder daughter, Gabi, is a mainstay of the choir (she was sitting directly under the crushed part of the roof, but her headrest stopped it from going any further). His younger daughter, Maddy, did a brilliant cameo on the violin during the exquisite performance of the Fauré Requiem at Christ Church last Sunday afternoon. The whole family is a powerhouse of talent, and we are very blessed to have them here in Greenwich.

There are, as some of you may know, four Archangels in the Anglican tradition: Uriel, Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. They are frequently to be found at Christ Church, but they also watch over their charges worldwide. Yesterday noon they snapped together to form an angelic safety zone around the spinning car. Here's how it probably went down: Uriel, the point man, cleared the path around them so that no other vehicles were involved in the accident. Michael and Gabriel stayed to the left and right of the car, which is how Gabriel was able to rescue his namesake by flipping the car right side up again. Raphael, the rear guard, pulled on the bumper to slow and then stop the forward momentum before more than the front end of the car was seriously damaged. Angelic teamwork at its best.

In two days we will celebrate Advent Sunday, the beginning of a new liturgical year. One hopes that the earthly powers that be will work in a few moments of thanksgiving for the miraculous preservation of the Hitel family in their hour of great peril. And also, perhaps, for the many gifts that they have shared with us in the past, and will continue to share with us in the future, thanks to their guardian angels.

And Soli Deo Gloria, as J. S. Bach used to write each time he finished a new composition: to God alone the glory.


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