September 29, 2008 - St. Michael and All Angels

Today's Reading: Matthew 18:1-11

Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 1:19-36; Matthew 5:21-48

See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 18:10)

The angels remind us of a world that is bigger than we are, dwelling in eternal light, of spirit, yet creaturely, easily gliding between time and eternity, spirit warriors, protectors, preachers.

The angels rejoiced on man’s creation day, astounded at the creativity of God who would dare make a creature in His image. The angels rejoice today over the repentance of one sinner who is turned from the lostness of sin and death and found in the image of God, restored in the death and resurrection of Jesus.

To speak of the angels is not childish, but childlike. The “little ones” to whom Jesus refers are not children but disciples, those who trust the promises of God with childlike simplicity of faith. Childlike in the way of a little one who trusts and receives. That is the way of faith in Jesus.

The small Catechism teaches us to pray in the morning and at night, “let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me.” Don’t try to get a bead on the angels. Their faces are ever turned to God, and they would point us in the same direction. For it is not by angels that we are saved from sin and delivered from death, but by the blood of the Lamb once slain who lives, Jesus the crucified and risen Son of God, whom the angels now adore with unending worship and praise.

As pastor and the congregation pray and sing before communion:

Therefore with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Your glorious Name, evermore praising you and saying, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of heavenly hosts. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. So we sing with the angels, and so they sing with us.

Still let them aid us and still let them fight,

Lord of angelic hosts, battling for right,

Till, where their anthems they ceaselessly pour,

We with the angels may bow and adore.

(Lutheran Service Book #520:4)