9th December

Enter A World Of Angels

Again I looked, and I heard angels, thousands and millions of them! They stood round the throne. Revelation 5: 11

I am weary and forlorn
Lead me to the land of angels
I think it is time I went for a space
To the court of Christ
To the peace of heaven
Carmina Gadelica

In the Celtic as in the Orthodox understanding of life we are never alone, and God is never alone. God likes company. And that is just as true of the non-earthly realm as it is of earth. God has peopled the unseen world with the bodiless beings we know as angels. They always delight to do God’s will, they are not weighed down with worldly baggage.

Unlike the fanciful portrayals of angels in medieval times, there is an earthy reality about angel encounters in the Bible. Six roles for these bodiless servants of God can be discerned. They shield (e.g. Daniel 3.28; 12.1); they reveal God’s message of salvation (e.g. Matthew 1.20); they heal (Tobit 3.17 apocrypha); they carry out God’s judgements (Rev. 15. 7, 8) they escort souls at death (Luke 16.22); and they praise God (Luke 2.13).

On this eve of St. Michael and All Angels Day it is good to turn our thoughts towards angels. Michaelmas should be a significant time for us as it was for Celtic Christians, who offer us a feast of angel stories. Bede’s writings brim with stories of encounters with angels, and one third of Adamnan’s Life of Columba consists of angel experiences.

Have mercy on little ones abused
may tender angels draw them to your presence.
Have mercy on those in black trial
may healing angels lift them into your presence.
Have mercy on souls at death’s door
may holy angels escort them to your presence.
Have mercy on we who remain
may smiling angels radiate to us your presence