Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Will the Real Angel Please Stand Up?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.  Suddenly there was a great earthquake!  For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it.  His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow.  The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.  Matthew 28:1-4(NLT)
Are angels softly playing violins in the background to put the baby to sleep?  Or are they robustly fierce enough to make battle-hardened Roman soldiers faint?
I have to confess that every time I see an angel depicted as a harp-strumming effete, I wonder if the artist ever actually read the Bible.  Angels are never characterized in Scripture as weak or dainty; rather they’re warrior-like.  They serve God around the throne, but they are also sent on missions that involve battle with demons and the unseen powers. 
If the little cute statues sold in curio shops and other places you find trinkets actually represented real angels, frankly I’d have a bit of a problem thinking Jacob wrestled all night with one at Jabbok, or had a three day slug-fest with Satan.
But that is so very like contemporary culture.  If you can’t relegate God to fable or myth, then you obscure His real character and purpose and use it to sell stuff.  I did a brief online search for buying angels; here’s what I found:
·       Macy’s will sell you a shapely feminine Waterford crystal angel for $130, free shipping, of course
·       Bed, Bath and Beyond has adorable tree ornaments that won’t scare anybody
·       And, of course, has the ever-popular kissing cherubs.
Now, I’m not really angry at the merchandisers; it’s their job to sell stuff.  My real problem is how gullible and unknowing we can be to surround ourselves with such nonsense. 
I have often thought of the psychological reasons we want insipid, non-threatening angels anyway.  Perhaps every time you look at it there is a warm and fuzzy feeling that you’re connected with sweet goodness and a candy-cane God Who would never hurt you and always give you what you want.  
Hmmmmm…gotta be a problem with that; do you remember the golden calf Aaron constructed while Moses was up on the mountain receiving instructions from the real God?  When Moses came back down from the mountain a lot of people who wanted that comforting calf-god died, swallowed up in the pit along with the idol.
Well, I’d rather take my chances with warrior angels, thank you.

For You Today

It’s always a good thing to examine the “what, where, why, how and when” you do what you do; God is more than willing for the conversation.
You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road…have a blessed day!

 I Title image: William-Adolphe Bouguereau [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons and Gustave Doré, via Wikimedia Commons

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