Tag Archives: messengers

Angels We Have Heard – Or Not.

29th September     Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael

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So who believes in Angels these days? Our ideas are perhaps as hazy as this carving from Patrixbourne, battered by post-reformation iconoclasts.

We did see an angel in Assisi a few years ago; or at least a woman in white, with nylon-feathered wings, sitting at a desk in the square and presumably giving advice to those who stopped to talk. We walked by on the other side.

Tobias walked side by side with Raphael, who guided the young man safely through his adventures, and brought him safely home with a cure for his father Tobit’s blindness. He also had a new wife, Sarah, who had been beset by a murderous demon that had killed all her previous fiancés until Raphael intervened.

Gabriel was entrusted with the message of Christ’s birth, a momentous duty. He called Mary to her own momentous duty, which she accepted.  More angels sang when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, calling the Shepherds to greet and worship him.

These angels were messengers, calling people to take on new challenges. Are we so spiritually battered by today’s iconoclasts that we cannot hear who is calling us, here and now?

If I can almost miss an angelic visitation on the top deck of a bus, I should keep my eyes and ears open. (See post, ‘Through New Eyes’, 24th September.) The girl was eager to record the wooded hills of the Blean – and when I looked again, the view was indeed very good.

God cannot be expected to send heavenly messengers if we ignore the earthly ones we meet every day.


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Through New Eyes

We used to sing, ‘When every eye shall see Thee / In deity revealed.’ Moses only saw ‘the back of God’ for a few moments on top of the mountain, a sight too awesome for anyone else, until we learn to see.

Centuries after Moses, for a few moments on top of the mountain, three apostles saw Jesus transfigured. Too awesome for Peter at the time but after the resurrection, as Jesus had suggested, the vision made sense.

Recently I received a minor revelation, not on a mountain top, but on top of a bus – not the Oxford one where C.S. Lewis had a personal epiphany, but the East Kent No 6 to Canterbury. In the front seats were a middle-aged Japanese couple and their teenage daughter; I’d guess father or mother or both were visiting academics, since they later got off at the university. Their daughter was the unwitting angel of revelation for me. She stood up, wrapped her arm around the grab rail, and took a rapid series of photographs. ‘There she goes’, I thought. ‘They love their cameras.’

She sat down, enthusiastically sharing the pictures with her mother. Through new eyes she had seen a place I had passed hundreds of times, seeing and not seeing.

If I need a revelation to see my home county, it’s time to pray, ‘Lord that I may see’, and learn to see Him or his angel, even on top of a bus.

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