At the end of September and before the festivities of the Harvest Festival, the Church celebrates the Feast of Michael and All Angels, more often known as Michaelmas. Whatever we might like to think about angels, whether they hover within your theological sphere or not, Michaelmas reminds us that we are not just two dimensional beings in a two dimensional world. We are also spiritual beings and we live amongst the heavenly flow of angels ascending and descending. There are accounts throughout the bible of angels, acting at God’s command, and interacting with humankind at different times and in different places.
Michaelmas teaches us some vital lessons in the conduct of our life here on earth. There is the example of the angels and their dedication to God’s command. There is also a warning against the sin of pride, which brought down fallen angels from the very heights of heaven. In the Book of Revelation, Michael and his angels fight and defeat the dragon; they did not keep silent or still whilst the powers of evil coiled around them. The dramatic words describing the battle and subsequent victory of Michael over the devil are not just speaking to the battle in heaven or the battle of the Church against evil in the world. They also speak of the very real and present battle within ourselves; the battle of good inclination against evil intent. The wrestling over our choosing of good or evil and the struggle with the serpent within, where the serpent is the symbol of the reality of all that is opposed to our presence with God. The words of Revelation challenge our culture of comfort where we have plenty and then we focus our time and resources on keeping ourselves in, and everyone else out. So that in an ever shrinking world, whilst we might think that we are free, we are never actually free if just one of God’s children is shackled and enslaved.
There is also a political context to Revelation where, in the clash of empires of the period, the Roman Empire is compared to the domain of the satan. Which invites us to reflect on our current global-national, political context. A context at this time that is for many, divisive, unsettling and sinister and where many of us are unsure as to what the future holds. So please join your prayers with mine as we pray for our community, that we may support and encourage one another in times such as these.
(You can read the story of the archangel Michael in the Book of Revelation 12.7-12).