David Russell Mosley
On the Edge of Elfland
Dear Friends and Family,
Today is what is often called in the Church Calendar Michaelmas or Michael and All Angels. Today we celebrate the fact that we are not alone in worshipping and serving the Lord our God. There are troops, whole companies of angels who do his will, his bidding.
Perhaps this is just my own problem, but I certainly often find myself forgetting about angels. I spend so much time, at least in my own head, combatting popular theology which says children or all people become angels when they die (because they do not), that I forget to give proper thought to real angels. The Scriptures are replete with angels and the hosts of the Lord. Last night for Vespers I read accounts of Elisha being surrounded by fiery chariots and a great host, the same it would seem he saw taking Elijah. This morning, the passages I’ve read have either centred on how the angels also worship the Lord, how they help Christians in our times of need, like Peter in Acts 12, or how they combat the devil and his demons (Revelation 7). The truth of the matter is angels are not only very much real, but the good ones are working alongside us to spread the Gospel, the story of God incarnate, of salvation, redemption, deification.
So do not, like me, forget the angels, but also do not worship them, they never allow it themselves, and they are just as created as we are. I would argue that because we are related to angels through our intellect, just as we are related to all creation through our materiality and the lower levels of our soul, and just as all that creation will be lifted up with us in the final days, so too will the angels be raised up through us, because we have a share in them. This is the idea that humanity is a microcosm, a little version of all things created, being related to all things in creation. This includes angels for angels are intellect and we have intellect (just as rocks are material and so are we; or plants seek nutrients just as we do; or animals emote and move, etc., and so do we. Because we are a microcosm and all things are related to us, as we are deified all things will be raised up with us, this must include angels who are part of Creation. Thus we should not worship them, but welcome them, sing their praise, be thankful to and for them, and allow them to lead us closer to Christ.
I leave you with the Collect for today:
you have ordained and constituted the ministry of angels and mortals in a wonderful order:
grant that as your holy angels always serve you in heaven,
so, at your command,
they may help and defend us on earth;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
David Russell Mosley