The lessons and hymns for the Festival of St Michael and All Angels (September 30, celebrated October 1) voice for us reminders of the power, role and protection that angels have in our lives. While we may not have announcements from heaven when a baby arrives (only Jesus gets a heavenly host showing up for his birth), we can be sure that the angels celebrate when a baby is joined to the family of God in the waters of baptism. While we may not have angels putting burning coals on our lips or knocking us down on roads to ready us for sharing the message of Jesus, God does provide his messengers (pastors and teachers) to announce God’s grace to us and gives us the very Word for us to read and meditate upon. And let’s not forget that we sing with the angels and archangels and all the company of heaven “Holy, Holy, Holy” as Holy Communion is set before us in Divine Service. Yes, God’s angels are with us, just as Jesus promised.
But the lessons also connected to many issues of the day (Wow, what a surprise. God’s word tending to our lives)-
- From Daniel 12:30, “And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” It seems society more and more marks Christian as the ill-informed, the unintelligent, the foolish. The learned says we are foolish for believing in Jesus, for believing in a young earth, for believing that God created man and woman for each other and that all live is a gift from God (in the womb or even at death’s door). We Christians do stick out from the crowd…and that’s just what is expected. We are lights that show the way as we share Jesus. In a dark world of sin, our words and actions, reflecting the grace that have been enlightened to us, brings light to the need of Christ.
- From Matthew 18:4, 10, “Whoever humbles himself like a child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven…and see that you do not despise one of these little ones” Isn’t interesting having these verses that do not explicitly talk about angels? Yet here Jesus highlights the humility and dependence of children; just as angels perform their humble service for God Almighty. Children are dependent on parents; we are dependent on the God of all creation. Humility is a product of faith. Sadly, we distorted God’s order and done a disservice to children by making them number 1, catering to their every need, ensuring they have all the comforts of this world, protecting them from pain and uncertainty and allow them to be decisionmakers (displacing the role of a parent).
- From Lutheran Service Book Hymn 521-
The ancient Dragon is their foe; His envy and his wrath they know.
It always is his aim and pride Thy Christian people to divide.
As he of old deceived the world And into sin and death was hurled,
So now he subtly lies in wait To ruin school and Church and state.
Prowling lion, dragon, serpent, foe, deceiver. The Bible has no complimentary words for Satan. He’s our enemy and he’s out to get us…and we forget this. The hymn writer (the reformer, Philipp Melanchthon) reminds us of one of his favorite tactics- divide and conquer. “It always is his aim and pride thy Christian people to divide.” Infighting. Quarreling. This divisiveness is not always explicit. The devil also uses divide and conquer by siloing our ideas and our opinions apart from community and from the Church.
Thank God for His angels and their defending of us.
Image: Gods Grace Faces Us