The Feast of St Michael and All Angels is a day in the church calendar when we remind ourselves of the ‘unworldly’ reality that surrounds us – the community of saints, the great cloud of witnesses that urge us on, and heavenly beings who liaise between heaven and earth. Today’s great festival draws our attention to the presence of God, transcendent, majestic and glorious, the one who is worshipped by the saints and angels. All our Scripture readings for today remind us of this other reality, from the visions in the book of Daniel, to the story of the great battle between good and evil in heaven, where St Michael is the leader of the forces of goodness and truth.
Perhaps you are a bit agnostic about the idea of ‘angels’, especially the little fluffy winged ones that adorn consumer goods and magazines, but there’s no doubt that in Scripture they are very real beings. We see time and again that they are the sent-out ones, messengers from God brining heavenly communication and comfort to human beings. An angel went ahead of the children of Israel to guide them through the wilderness to the promised land. An angel comforted Elijah in the desert when he was at the very end of himself and could see no hope or future, bringing him honey cakes cooked on a hot stone, and water. Three angels who looked just like men, dined with Abraham, bringing him the message that he would be gifted a son against all normal human expectations. The Archangel Gabriel came to the young Mary with a message from God, calling her to be open to God’s will, and to become the God-bearer.
Today is a day to remind ourselves, as it says in the Great Thanksgiving of our Eucharist, that we are surrounded by a whole other-wordly dimension of reality, and that we gather in worship with ‘angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven’. But it also reminds us that as we minister to one another, we are doing so with the very angels of heaven, God’s messengers of comfort. And just like Abraham, we should look up and be aware or we may not recognise the angels sent from God to minister to us along the way.
In peace, Mother Lynda
Scripture readings: Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14; Revelation 12:7-12a; John 1:”45-51