Angels Everywhere?

23/06/09 | Posted by Poppy

You know how it is. No conversations or discussions or books about a subject and then that is all anyone seems to want to talk about. That is how it has been with angels recently. Maybe they are like buses, don't see one for ages then three come along at once....

image
 Angel

I’ll admit that I’ve not been that interested in them. It doesn’t mean they don’t exist but I’ve never seen one. They are in the Bible, particularly at the time when Jesus was born. The angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will have a child even though she is unmarried and there is an unnamed angel who tells Joseph in a dream that his new family should flee from an area controlled by Herod.

But last week I met someone whose father believed that an angel got him through the D Day landings, someone else who writes books on angels and a whole group of people who thought they had personal angels who watched over them and cared for them.

I had long conversations with the group who thought they had guardian angels watching over them and there were some comments that made me think very hard about what angels mean to us in today’s culture. To start with I didn’t really recognise the type of angels they were talking about as the beings that they had felt were watching over them weren’t the awesome angels of the Bible. They described very personal angels who were looking after the small, and important issues of life today. I had a look at some of the books that are in the shops and the angels they describe are not those found in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The angels that are in the sacred writings of these religions are not to be messed with. They are a different order of beings who are busy either praising God or doing his bidding and mortals and their activities seem to be a bit of a distraction.

The angels in the books in the mind, body and spirit section of the bookshop are more like winged life coaches who could give advice on what job to go for or which people to be friends with. Or celestial psychotherapists, allowing one to become the very best that one can be. Where has this idea come from?

It made me wonder if people see angels as spiritually safe. A way of having spirituality without commitment. The angels I heard described were not challenging; they were servants and encouragers and helped people achieve their true potential. Maybe in a world where communities are fractured and people live a long way from family or are estranged from them, there is a need for affirmation and belonging that these angels are providing.

I often hear that people like to be spiritual but not religious. You can be spiritual on your own. Just you and your angel books and angel cards focusing inwards on self. Region is different, most religions involve becoming part of communities. You have to deal with other people in a congregation or prayer meeting. Now that can be tricky as other people are not perfect and get on our nerves, or the services with all those other people are at the wrong time, or in the wrong place or too many times in a day. So much easier to focus on self alone.

But surely that is hollow and selfish. As human beings we are designed to live in community; to seek out and find people that we can build a family with and to care for. Following Jesus is about community as well as self. Jesus surrounded himself with other people. He found his disciples and we know some of their names; Peter, James, Mary and Andrew. And the first Christians lived as communities, supporting those who were unable to support themselves and learning and growing together. Modern church communities are not perfect but there is always room for another imperfect individual.

No one else can take that first step of faith but once the step is taken then the result is to want to share that faith with others, to learn more about that faith from people who have walked the same path or are a few steps ahead. I’ve linked to some of the modules about faith up on the right hand side. Why not click and explore further.

There are some modules on faith and happiness up on the top right hand side of your screen. Click and explore….

 

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