Today (9/29) was St Michael and All Angels festival Sunday. I believe it is sometimes called Michaelmass.
Instead of doing a full sermon manuscript for today I did a conversational sermon. Or at least I think that’s the best name for it. We had an open discussion about angels during the sermon period and it was a really positive experience for all of the people there. Lots of interesting questions and I was really impressed with how much people already knew about angels and remembered about the times they show up in scripture! Of course, they always show up saying “fear not!” so it’s likely memorable!
I have a particular love of angels and have spent a good deal of time studying and teaching about them. I’ve always been amazed at how many very faithful Christians can dismiss angels out of hand as something either hokey or too fanciful for real faith. Well, I suppose that I might feel that way, too… if there were not over 300 mentions of the word ‘angel’ in scripture and if angels didn’t keep showing up everywhere in the bible. Oh, and I suppose if Jesus didn’t mention them a whole lot–which he did–I might then be able to sort of dismiss them, too.
On the other hand, it can be tempting to feel worshipful of angels and I suppose it’s a common thing for faithful people to struggle with since there’s mention in scripture about being careful to NOT worship them. Luckily, angels aren’t particularly interested in being worshiped and seem to always be coming from, going to, pointing to God. The Archangel Michael has a response to that desire to worship angels and it’s within his very name. Michael means “who is like God?” His very name is a question and it is a rhetorical one because the implied obvious answer is: no one, not even angels.
For me, angels are a reminder that no matter how smart I may think I am, or how worldly or wise, there are things in creation that are mystical and beyond me that I will never fully grasp. Angels never let me forget that there is more to this word than merely what I can see and touch. And God made all that, too; all that is, seen and unseen. For, as the angel Gabriel says, nothing is impossible with God!