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Angels Unawares

12th September 2019

as published in Great Yarmouth Parish Life

 

GUARDIAN ANGELOne of those surveys which some newspapers love to publish claimed recently that a large number of British people believe in angels - almost as many, in fact, as claimed to believe in God. They didn't tell us what people meant by angels. I suspect quite a few were thinking of young children who die, who are often now said to be angels up there.  They're not, of course. They are transformed human beings. Be that as it may, when Christians celebrate the feast of St Michael and All Angels later this month, there will be many of us, inside and outside churches, who will wonder exactly what or who we are celebrating
 
ST MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELSMost simply, the word in the New Testament means messenger.  An angel is a being who brings to us God's message or his help. In the Bible angels are variously described. The familiar notion of wings and flight comes from a vision given to Isaiah in the Temple when he was being called as a prophet. The angel Gabriel, who told Mary that she was chosen to be the mother of the Messiah, is not described at all, but his words are recorded in detail. Angels speak to people in dreams (Joseph, the husband of Mary, for instance) and Jesus spoke of angels who particularly care for children (guardian angels)

Most people, even very devout ones, have never knowingly encountered an angel, I guess. However, the New Testament tells us that “in showing hospitality to strangers” some of us have “entertained angels without knowing it”.  Clearly wings and eyes of flame are not obligatory. Just human care. “Oh, go on, be an angel and make me a cup of tea!”

Canon David Winter
 


 

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Feedback:
Derek Mill 13/09/2019 07:37
Martin Luther King, "I have a dream..."
ABBA: I have a dream... I believe in angels..."
Amen. I believe in angels.