This morning we are called in the Anglican calendar to reflect on Michael and All the Angels of God. I wonder whether it is something you have ever given any serious thought to. What or who are the angels of God, of the Bible and of our liturgy and indeed our art and culture.?
There are in fact angels everywhere in our thinking and our stories. But we are probably not that clear what we think or believe about angels. Are they best understood in the images of fat little cherubs with harps … think of all the times we have heard people say how angelic a baby or child is .. do we think angels are like babies or babies like angels .. why do we depict and refer to them as such?
Or perhaps we view angels more like the kind in our stain glass windows .. watching over the events of the earth with a sort ambiguous gender and role? Are angels guardians as we often suggest or are they members of a choir or soldiers in an army?
What the Bible tells us about angels is most simply that they do the bidding of God. Whether messengers or heralds or foot soldiers or choristers their place in the universe is to ‘do the will of God’. From our readings this morning we might agree that this activity takes place between heaven and earth .. angels doing God’s will on earth as they descend on us from heaven. We might want to reflect on the idea that we no longer think of Heaven as simply being above us but the image of angels moving to and from Heaven might fit well with scientific ideas about other dimensions so this might be a more appropriate language these days. Angels moving from one dimension to another unseen unseen by human eye unless ordained by God to see them.
But what is most important here is not what an angel looks like or where they come from or go to but this truth that their role is to do God’s bidding .. to do the Divine Will. And if we accept this to be truth I want to suggest to you this morning that each of us is called towards becoming an Angel!!
Think about our Christian calling. Is it not to daily grow towards doing God’s Will. Is this not exactly what Jesus revealed to us in HIs life and Death. Again and again in HIs ministry Jesus tells the crowds ‘I have come not to do my own will but the will of the Father’ .. and as He prays at the end of His life as an example of what it means to follow God ‘Father take this cup from me .. yet not my Will but yours be done’.
Is this not in fact what Jesus tells us to pray as His people throughout the world ..’Thy Kingdom come Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven’. God’s Will being done on earth as it is in Heaven. Humankind following the example of the Angels in Heaven by doing God’s bidding! Humankind called as we are in the words we will say later at the Communion Table .. that with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven .. we on earth join with heaven in doing God’s Will.
What are angels then .. the Bible’s teaching is summed up in the final words of Psalm 103 which calls all Creation to worship God and where it says:
20 Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord, my soul.
This morning be assured that your call as a Christian is to become like the Angels. To do God’s bidding, to pray for God’s kingdom to come and Will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Not only this but we are called to encourage the angelic in one another and in our world. All people are called to become Angels. This is what life is about .. becoming angelic! Are you becoming angelic. Are you nurturing the angelic in others.
Let us seek to join the company of angels led by the Archangel Michael as we become more and more committed to doing the Will of God on earth. After all do we not often say that when someone has died they have gone to be with the angels?
Perhaps this is our great human calling .. to join with the angels on earth that we might be welcomed with the angels in Heaven .. becoming those who do God’s bidding whether on earth or in Heaven as we walk in the footsteps of Christ.