you have ordained and constituted the ministries of angels and mortals in a wonderful order:
grant that as your holy angels always serve you in heaven,
so, at your command,
they may help and defend us on earth;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The feast of St Michael and All Angels falls at the end of this month (Tuesday 29th September) and it holds special memories for
me. I was ordained as curate to the Parish of St Michael and All Angels in North Hull in July 1992. We always had a joyful
celebration to celebrate our patron saint.
The angels are part of God’s creation, as we say in the Creed:
“We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.”
In the Bible the angels are God’s messengers we think especially of the announcement of the coming of Jesus - Gabriel was
sent to Mary before Jesus’ incarnation, and the whole heavenly host were seen by the shepherds on the night of His birth.
Angels are often mentioned in the context of worship. Our worship on earth joins with the worship of heaven. Andrew Louth, a
Russian Orthodox priest writes: “It is as if the angels are the sparks that fly off as God and His creation encounter each other.” A
beautiful image to hold in our minds as we sing together in Church or pray the Eucharistic prayer together.
My favourite story of angels comes from 2 Kings in the Hebrew Bible. Elisha and his servant wake up one morning to discover
that they are surrounded by the Syrian army. The servant is alarmed, but Elisha says, “Fear not, for those who are with us are
more than those who are with them”; and the servant’s eyes are opened and he sees the heavenly host surrounding them. (2
Belief in the angels doesn’t fit in very well with our modern world, but it is important. At the very least it reminds us that, as
Shakespeare wrote, “There are more things in heaven and earth, …. Than are dreamt of in your philosophy”.
|Prayer for the Month