Monday, 08 August 2022
“PLEASE, be an angel!” Do you say this when asking for a special favour?
Or maybe, when someone has gone the extra mile to help, you say: “You’re an angel!”
Great kindness makes us want to show our warmest appreciation, so we thank them by saying they are like a heavenly being.
Angels have a special place in the Christian faith. Accounts in the Bible of heavenly visitors, such as the annunciation to the Virgin Mary of Jesus’ forthcoming birth, seem to bring heaven and earth closer together.
The holy messenger from God, who brings the world-changing news, gives his name as Gabriel to Zechariah, husband of Mary’s cousin Elizabeth, although there is no description of his appearance.
But Gabriel has the power of speech, a magnetic overwhelming presence and an unforgettable message for Mary.
Later, Gabriel and a heavenly host of angels visit the shepherds in the fields, bringing the joyful news of Jesus’ birth. (No wonder that the role of the Angel Gabriel is one of the most coveted in school nativity plays!)
In the 21st century, there seems to be a renewal of belief in guardian angels as benevolent, other-worldly beings who monitor and protect us.
The internet lists various signs claiming to “prove” this: finding white feathers, the sound of harp music, special lights or fragrances...
Perhaps such beliefs stem from an understandable need to try to make sense of our complex, often bewildering world.
We look for clues that we are not alone and for someone who genuinely cares about our welfare.
Even the 17th century poet John Donne was not immune from such thoughts: “So in a voice, so in a shapeless flame, angels affect us oft, and worship’d be.”
But Donne was also a committed Christian who became dean of St Paul’s and acknowledged his complete dependence on God to guide him.
Whether or not we think that angels play a part in our lives, we too can trust in God to guide, protect and care for us and those whom we love.
01 October 2018
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