A meditation for Holy Michael & All Angels. A Red Letter Holy Day in the Anglican Church calendar, observed September 29.
By the Rev. Justin Clemente
I. Angels are for real
First, when we speak of God’s angels, we’re not speaking metaphorically. As Christians, we have an unapologetically supernatural worldview. We are not materialists, and do not believe that the world sprang from nothing (or that the universe created itself). Life is given – all of it. Seen and unseeen, angelic and human orders, the heavenlies above and earth below.
In fact, angels are so real that we even know some of their names! Michael and Gabriel are named in Holy Scripture, while Raphael is mentioned in the Apocrypha.
II. It’s not like a Hallmark movie
Perhaps some of the incredulity toward angels is due to the cartoonish, caricatured, and less-than-real way they are often depicted in popular culture. In a movie, when someone meets an angel, there is an oh well of course I would meet you! sort of reaction. But, whenever someone meets an angel in the Bible, they need a change of pants. Fear and dread are the normal responses to standing so close to beings that stand so close to the presence and throne of God.
III. Angels attend, serve, and worship Christ
From the beginning of time, angels have served, worshipped, and attended our Lord Jesus Christ. They served him before his Incarnation (compare Genesis 28:10-17 & John 1:27-32). The host of heaven acclaimed him at his Incarnation, served him in his Temptation, wondered at his Crucifixion, announced his Resurrection, and bore him back to heaven again to sit down at the right of God, having accomplished forgiveness of sins, and the trampling down of Satan under his feet.
In his book Joy to the World, Scott Hahn describes a long held theory regarding the fall of Satan and his demons. The theory goes that the pride that led to their rebellion was due to the fact that God revealed to them that he would unite himself to humanity in the person of Jesus. These evil angels felt that it was beneath their dignity to worship such a God and thus, they sinned against him and were cast out heaven.
In Revelation 12, the Michael & the holy angels conquer by the blood of Christ. His life, death, resurrection and ascension are their vindication and the means by which they conquer and throw Satan down!
IV. Angels attend and serve people
But did you know that there is something that the holy angels wonder at and long to see? It’s our salvation.
The Apostle Peter gives us a little gem in his first epistle: “It was revealed to [God’s prophets] that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.” (1 Peter 1:12)
Things into which angels look. And their jaws drop. If we understand rightly who Christ is and what he has accomplished for us (those who are to inherit salvation!) it really should cause us to fall on our face in awe and thanksgiving. Because apparently, the work of Christ is so great and ineffable, that it even causes even the angels to sing, “What wondrous love is this?”
Friends, Christians are not people who have been “touched by an angel” or who have a sort of vague interest in spiritual things. They are people who have been touched by the wounds of our Savior and made alive through the power of his resurrection. And the good angels long to see that happen. They serve the Gospel. They serve and attend our salvation.
And so we may claim the presence and protection of the angels. They love Christian. The old Prayer Book bedtime prayer is a wonderful way to acknowledge their presence:
Visit this place, O Lord, and drive far from it all snares of the enemy; let your holy angels dwell with us to preserve us in peace; and let your blessing be upon us always; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In Christ, angels and men can and will fully and finally dwell together. Fear not indeed, saints.