Today, we celebrate our paternal Feast Day, St. Michael and all Angels.
St. Michael is mentioned four times in Scripture: In old and new testament.
In today’s collect reading we hear of an Everlasting;
who ordained the services of Angels,
and in the Lesson appointed for the Epistle – of a war in Heaven in which Satan and his angels (his messengers) were cast out of heaven
and then it is proclaimed from heaven itself,
that evil was cast out and that “salvation, strength, the kingdom, and power of Christ” had prevailed;
and then as Satan, and his legend of fallen angels, are thrown down to the earth; we hear a warning:
“woe to the inhibiters of the earth and the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath as their time is short.
And finally in the Gospel reading we hear of Jesus and his love of the little children … and their humbleness
and finally of a woe unto the world because the offenses against His people.
First, the Angels (the messengers):
God has sent Angels throughout history:
They act as inter-mediates between God and Man, usually confined to specific messages or missions (Gen 16:7 Hagar) (Judges 6:11 Gideon)
In Isaiah and Job / angels form heavenly courts / singing praises to God.
In New Testament writings, in today’s Gospel, Jesus refers to them.
Their importance is seen as the New Testament authors portray angels at very most important moments…
Jesus Incarnation (Matt 1) and His Birth (Lk 2:9);
They are seen Ministering to Christ
in the desert (Matt 4:11),
and strengthening him in His agony (Lk 22:43).
Angels were defenders of Jesus, even the night He is captured (Matt 26:53)
Angels are first witnesses of Jesus Resurrection – in Matt 28:2 and John 10:12.
And in the Revelation of St. John the Divine; their worship in heaven is a prototype of the worship of the Church as they:
“fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God.” 7:11
However, in Colossians (2:18) Paul speaks of the dangers of the heresy of angels becoming too elevated,
as being mediators between God and man.
Always remember, our only mediator is Jesus Christ.
On this feast day, we thank God for the gifts bestowed upon our little portion of His Church.
Let us reflect upon the “specialness” of this “house of worship” and her families.
God’s people, the founding members of this church, built the original church building – the front portion of our Parish Hall…
(you can watch a video of this on our website “Home Page” and as well as under the “Our History” tab…
it was their “labor of faith” which built the building in which you sit –
this church was built by the hands of its members…
their blood and sweat are in each of its planks – but even more important –
their LOVE is embedded throughout its foundation.
The pews in which you sit were built in a member’s garage,
and even the pulpit upon which I stand was built by our own Jerry Brenner, who now lives in its Rectory…
the altar, the kneelers,
even the grounds bear the labor of our people,
I know this, because I was the “yard boy” cutting its grass for seven years –
but most important, and very special,
is the love of His servants,
as revealed by the depth of their faith.
Yes, we are blessed far beyond our deserving.
It is not the fancy teaching and it’s especially not the entertaining preaching,
it surely is not our monetary wealth,
nor our brilliant and superior knowledge,
it is not even the holiness or specialness of Anglicanism,
you see our blessings are not of our greatness in anything of our doing…
THE BLESSING upon this church
comes to us via
our pure love of its founder
– Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest.
It is through God’s Grace (His love for each of you) upon which stands the foundation of our faith –
that promise He made to Abraham through his seed, Jesus Christ,
is fulfilled each time we are gathered
and His Word is preached
and each time we worthily receive His Body and His Blood.
And how are we to become “worthy” to receive His Word and Sacraments
(do we receive them as great scholars or philosophers?)
but as “little children” who are to be opened (ephphatha) –
open to His Love (Grace,) His Word (Jesus Christ), and His Body (the Church and her sacraments.)
As Fr. George mentioned last week, by being humble we avoid becoming humiliated and frustrated.
Even our Lord, humbled himself and became obedient unto death (Phil 2:8) for us…
So we too, must train our bodies and minds to become obedient, being submissive before God and man,
it is our humbleness, as children, that prepares, and lays open, the way for us to be with our God.
We learn and grow, just as the children,
and only in humility
can we come lovingly to Him
and accept that our ways are not to be of this world,
but of the ways of heaven.
The ways of heaven bring a true joy and peace which is above all.
When “born again” into His Church, we become as children ourselves,
seeking to be fed and nourished and refreshed.
“Come unto me, all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you”
The Epistle this morning tells us that “this world” is overcome by the blood of the Lamb,
thus the filth of this word is cleansed by His Sacrifice and by His Body and His Body
and His Word and “Our testimony” of it unto the world.
And when this is done,
it creates rejoicing and singing in the heavens.
So this day let the heavens rejoice, as His whole Church gives thanks to our great God.
Let us all humbly join together with all the Saints
and all the Martyrs
along with The Whole Church (the Militant, Expectant, and Triumphant)
as we give thanks and praise to He, who loved us first, to whom on this paternal feast day we ask that He sends his angels to protect us and His Church.