|Published by Rev'd Tif Ewins on Mon, 30 Sep 2019 23:02|
At this time, the church in some parts celebrates St Michael and all angels. We might not think about angels very much and beyond the Christmas tree. But angels are present throughout scripture and our forebears had no trouble in believing in them.
A brief view from scripture implies that angels are created beings, but not made in the image of God as humans are. They are spiritual not bodily creatures. Their purpose is to stand for, to encourage, to minister to the people of God and to worship God, Father Son and Holy Spirit.
This week in our Tuesday night home group we talked about evil spirits as we were looking at a particular encounter between Jesus and an evil spirit in Mark. We talked about what these might be and although some of the description of evil spirits could be mapped against diagnosed conditions, we were still left noticing that the bible makes very clear there is a spiritual world that exists as surely as the physical world, and these two worlds are not entirely separate, indeed they overlap considerably. The word “angel" or "angels” comes up 51 times in the gospels where people saw or spoke to angels, or Jesus told people of the work of angels. Jesus, I have no doubt, believed in angels.
I wonder how you feel about that? Angels - the stuff of cute nativity plays and folk stories? Or angels as real warriors and servants of God fighting for us in battles we seldom ever see.
Today, thinking about angels could be an opportunity to reflect on the idea that our faith is based on a man who believed in angels, spoke about them and said he was aided by them. That man did supernatural things, he walked on water, he fed thousands miraculously, he turned water into wine, he healed the sick and he raised the dead. These things, as well as the ideas he spoke of; that God is not the same as religion, that God is love and God wants us as family, meant that huge crowds gave up their time, in some cases their homes and their livelihoods to follow him. And the most supernatural of all is the resurrection of Jesus Himself. The Biblical account leads me to believe that the physical and spiritual realms collided on the cross as God-in-Jesus was tortured, mocked and killed in isolated agony taking on the consequences of our on-going spiritual and physical rebellion against God. These co-existing realms remained locked together as Jesus physically rose from the dead, ate food with friends, spoke, walked until He was taken back into heaven so that the baby church could receive the supernatural power from on high, the Holy Spirit to continue the work of Jesus.
So if we forget that church, ie the people of God (not the building, but you and I) is supernatural, then we are not doing church right. This church community is dedicated to Michael, the coolest, hardest, leader of all the angels, whose job it is to fight for the people of God, and that is us! Why are there angels to fight for us? It must be because we need their help. We will need help like Jesus did if we are doing the things that Jesus did. If we are praying for healing, doing justice and mercy, challenging powers and listening for the voice of God moment by moment, then we are stepping into contested territory.
Angels and stuff, it’s a lot to take in. But so is Wifi and without knowing how it works I rely on it every day. So I encourage us all to step out in the ways of Jesus, dare greatly in prayer and follow Jesus closely in our choices because right next to Jesus is where the natural and the supernatural meet.