Text: Hebrews 1:1-14
To grow in awareness of the Creation around and beyond you
To be glad of the ways God speaks to you
To bear good news, worship truly and be ready to serve
TODAY (SEPTEMBER 29) THE CHURCH celebrates the feast of St. Michael, whom Daniel calls the “great prince and protector of Israel.” Lutheran theology tends to ignore angels in favor of highlighting Christ as mediator between humans and God; too much popular piety is layered on angels in a way that obscures or hinders the far more important relationship our Lord creates between us and him. However, being aware of the work of God’s angels is a good way to remember our proper place in the Creation. We are not alone in this universe, nor are we the only creatures that have God’s care and love!
The core activity of angels is what their name suggests: they are angelos, messengers, bearers of tidings from God (we see this idea in another word we use frequently: eu angelion, “good tidings/good news” and so we say evangelical). From Abraham to Mary, we see “God’s Messengers” coming to humans with a word from God. While this word may be at times hard to hear or requires close attention, the Scriptures are clear that an angelic message is not simply a “gut feeling” or self-generated hunch.
A second important activity of the angelic hosts is worship. Scripture is full of descriptions of multitudes of angels gathered around the throne of God who worship continually. The Revelation of John is especially noteworthy in this regard, as we see in both chapter 4 and 5. Right worship is one of the markers of the angelic relationship to God, and our earthly worship is a pale imitation, even as we (again, because of Christ!) worship in Spirit and Truth just as the angels do.
A third angelic activity is most popular in the public imagination: angels serve as the army hosts of heaven, as warriors and protectors. Jesus promises that little ones are under the protection of his Father’s angels (Matthew 18:10). It is implied throughout Scripture that angels are the “means” by which God upholds and maintains the integrity of the Creation—as creatures themselves, they are an expression of God’s almighty power.
As we go about our day, let us give thanks that God surrounds us with a vast host, and be ready to share good tidings, worship in Spirit and truth, and care for our neighbors after the example of St. Michael and company.
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks