Friday, October 2, 2009

angels, departings, and the desire of God

(Homily given on September 30, 2009, at St Helena's midweek Eucharist.)

Today we remember, we celebrate, the fast of St Michael and All Angels. St Michael, captain to God's holy People. St Michael, in the book of Revelation, waging holy war against the dragon. St Michael, whose name means a question -- when translated, "Who is like God?" -- a not so subtle critique of on Lucifer's sin. "Who is like God?"

St Michael, curious, as an archangel, to be called a saint at all. After all, are the saints the folks like you and me?

But then, Michael, like all the good saints, living the question, "Who is like God?" -- those closest to God made most aware of the difference, soaked through and soaked through with an all holy deference -- holy reverence -- for the one God we worship and call Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

To state the obvious, I am not an angel -- nor a saint, apart from grace. But I do cherish the image in our weekly worship by which we share a space with them: "Therefore," we say, "joining our voices with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify thy Holy Name..."

Think about that: our worship of God is not just the most important thing we do in our lives (though it is also that), but all heaven calls a time out to join us in the act!

One preacher once said better what I'm trying to say, "that the moral arch of the universe bends toward the cross." So while all creation groans, writes St Paul, for the redemption of earth, so too is all heaven -- and her angels! -- constituted by the desire of God for us and creation; the desire for us to be joined to the feast; the desire to be joined to the praises of God.

I cannot tell you what a joy and privilege it is and has been to have met you with the angels week in and week out as we practice this feast. Each Wednesday after Wednesday has been grace upon grace. And it is no small consolation to me, as Rebekah and Annie and I leave this place--as we leave you, that the same angels will continue to bind our worship to yours, as we foretaste the feast.

I will miss you.
I thank God for you.
I thank God for our common lot as His People.
And I thank God for our sharing the high calling of praise.

Amen.