September 29, 2019: Calling All Angels

Readings:

Daniel 10:10-14; 12:1-3

Revelation 12:7-12

Luke 10:17-20

This is a great day to be here for worship because today we get to talk about Angels.

Because today is the festival of St. Michael and All The Angels.

All the festivals in the Church Year serve one purpose: To Celebrate God.

By celebrating, we remember God’s promises and God keeping those promises.

And we have the chance to give thanks to God for all the angels in our lives.

Let me tell you someone who was a big believer in angels.

Martin Luther. 

Luther said angels were spiritual creatures appointed by God to serve the divine church. 

He also said that angels were not just the people waiting for us at the end of lives here on earth,

Angels were very present in our lives right here and now. 

Luther wrote that, “we should learn that our best and most loyal friends are invisible.”

Protecting us from harm.

From the Morning Prayer:

So in the prayer Luther believed we all have an angel assigned to us.

I am a big fan of angels.

And not just the invisible ones Luther mentions, but the visible angels God has placed in my life.

I have seen firsthand angels working in my life.

The angels all have names:

  • Dad
  • Mom
  • Kristen
  • Paul
  • Maddie

Just to name a few

But I want to share with you the day I realized that God’s angels were watching over me.

Back in the 7th grade, there was a boy named John who picked on me.

A lot.

Then came that one fateful day when we were finishing up with gym and getting ready to go home.

John made some kind of remark 

And naturally, because I didn’t know any better,

I MAY have made a joke about his weight.

John did not think it was funny, and he grabbed me by the throat.

It was at this moment that I realized I MAY have made a mistake,

And I started making out a will, “I give mom and dad all my earthly posessions, which meant my comic collection.”

So as I was facing certain doom,

Here came the HAND.

The hand belonged to my friend Nathanial.

St. Nathanial.

Nathanial was a BIG kid

He was on the school football team, as an offensive tackle.

He outweighed me, John, practically the WHOLE class by at least 50 pounds.

And Nathan put his hand on John and SHOVED him away from me.

And yelled, “What is wrong with you?!”

John ran away.

And I did what any brave young boy would do.

I slid to the floor, holding Nathan’s arms and saying “thank you thank you thank you” over and over again.

John didn’t bother me after that.

Come to think of it no one bothered me after that.

But that was the day that I saw someone stand up for me.

I believe Angels are there to remind us that God loves us and that God will fight all evil that comes our way.

That was the job of St. Michael.

Michael appears in Daniel, Jude, and Revelation. 

In the Bible, Michael was described as a warrior…THE warrior… of God against the devil.

He was the Ultimate Fighter.

For the people of Israel who are reading Daniel, this was very good news.

Because Israel has been through it all

  • wars, 
  • exile, 
  • rebuilding.

And they had this belief that no matter how good things could get, something or someone was going to come and ruin it.

How many of us can relate to that feeling?

I admit it happens to me.

I hate that feeling because while I am enjoying life I am always looking back and around keeping my eyes open for trouble.

What do you do when you can’t shake that sense of dread?

You reach for your Bible and read books like Daniel and Revelation. 

Those books fall into the category we call Apocalyptic Literature.

Now when we think of “apocalypse” we think of Left Behind, the End Times, the Worst of Times.

But Apocalyptic Literature in the Bible served a very specific purpose:

It was NOT to scare people into faith.

It was to give hope.

For example,

in our passage from Daniel, the prophet is overwhelmed by a vision that leaves him weak, sick, and feeling alone.

BUT…

Hope arrives through a simple touch and words.

Listen to the words of hope:

  • “Daniel, you are greatly beloved.”
  • “Do not be afraid.”
  • “I have heard you!”
  • “You will not have to fight anymore.
  • I will fight FOR you.”

The one speaking?

God!

And God sends Michael to fight for the people and bring them hope and light in their time of darkness.

So what do we do when we face dread?

We hear what God said to Daniel and the people.

  • you are greatly beloved.”
  • “Do not be afraid.”
  • “I have heard you!”
  • “You will not have to fight anymore.
  • I will fight FOR you.”

This is important to remember:

God never says we will not experience bad times.

But God DOES say us that when bad times come we will not face them alone. 

Because we have God and the Angels on our side.

The Greek word for “angel” really means “a messenger,” not a like a mail man, but one who is sent to deliver a message by word of mouth.

And this name is applied in Scripture to ALL messengers of God in heaven and on earth, whether they are holy angels or prophets or apostles…So all who proclaim His Word are God’s angels and messengers.

So today let us take a moment and think of the angels both visible and invisible that have been in our lives.

Let us think of the times in our lives when we have struggled and someone has said, “I’m here for you.

I love you.

You are not alone.”

That last one really hit me this week.

Paul started kindergarten, and that means a lot of chance, new school,

New teachers,

New kids.

He has friends at Holly Tree but they are in different classrooms.

So that is a LOT for a five year old.

It’s like someone who visits here for the fitst time and doesn’t know anyone,

It can be a lot to handle.

The other night Paul was a little sad and he was worried if he was making any friends.

I held him and said, “it gets better, buddy.

You are not alone.”

I said a silent prayer asking God to let Paul know that.

The next morning we are walking to school,

And I hear “PAUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

And it’s one of Paul’s new friends screaming his name from his car

And as Paul walked into school, another one of his new friends came up beside him and patted him on the shoulder and they walked in together.

Whoa! That was some God work going on there!

I was not just walking going home, I was skipping, I looked like I was about to break into song, that’s how happy I was.

The lesson from Daniel mentions the word “roused” and the Lord roused me that day!

And how many times in our lives have we been “roused” by the love of God through the work of God’s angels?

How many of us have had someone call out our name, maybe through a phone call, a hug, a text, a GIF, picture to let us know we are loved?

And it not’s just who the angels are in our lives, but also how we have been and can be the angels in the lives of others.

think of the ways we here at St. Paul’s call out to others and let them know they are loved, that they matter:

  • Monday night feedings
  • Feast Gathering
  • NA
  • Quilts (which is next week!)
  • Habitat
  • Greeting
  • Passing of the Peace
  • Or in food (ESPECIALLY Food!)

The other week I checked on Joe and Carolyn Augustine.

Joe and Carolyn have been dealing with 

Eye issues

And other health issues

And it was just overwhelming them.

But then the came the Angels!

Let me tell you how news gets around here at St. Paul’s.

You tell the right 2 or 3 people,

The WHOLE church knows.

And after a recent fall,

Those 2 or 3 people went to work.

Carolyn is part of one of our Women’s Groups.

And her group brought over food that same night of the fall.

Not just a plate.

But FOURTEEN plates of food!

An outpouring of love and support.

When they ate that food and they told me they did, they did not just see food,

They saw love.

And support.

And God.

And they saw that God was working for them.

They saw the Angels who brought them something they needed:

Hope.

So today

We celebrate the Hope that we have been promised, and the Hope we have received. 

And WHO gives us that Hope.

Thanks be to God.

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