THANK YOU to all who came and who took part in the Wave of Prayer Service.
Our next meeting is on Wednesday 4th March in the coffee shop area at 2.30pm. Jackie Tickner, MU member, will talk about “Volunteering for the underprivileged members of Society”. Jackie was a volunteer for the charity “Barnardos” for many years. There will be Bring and Buy table.
Although they may speed through the air, most, if not all angels, do not have wings. It is the Cherubim and Seraphim who have wings. The two Cherubim are depicted on the Ark of the Covenant made in the time of Moses. Their wings met each other above the box, creating a space known as the ‘mercy seat’ (Exodus 37:9). Years later, Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem. In its Inner Sanctuary he made two cherubim of olive wood, each 15 feet high, with a wing span of 15 feet (1 Kings 6:23-24). God is always said to “sit enthroned on the cherubim” (e.g. 1 Samuel 4:4, 2 Kings 19:15).
Many, many years later in the Temple, the prophet Isaiah had a dramatic vision of the Seraphim. Each of these had “six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew” (Isaiah 6:2).
Cherubim and Seraphim are highly symbolic figures. In the song known as the ‘Te Deum’ we sing: “To thee Cherubim and Seraphim: continually do cry, Holy, Holy, Holy: Lord God of Sabaoth; Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty: of thy Glory.” (1662 Book of Common Prayer). These creatures seem to be continually in the presence of God. Wherever they are, there is God.
So they were seen either in wood and gold, or in vision. There is obviously more in heaven and earth than we can ever imagine. It is truly enlarging to our faith to contemplate these revelations and to worship the creativity and majesty of God. Perhaps we can utter the words of the Queen of Sheba when she visited Solomon and saw all his splendour and experienced his wisdom: “the half was not told me” (2 Chronicles 9:6).
One day, when we pass through the veil and shed this earthly flesh, our eyes shall be opened and we shall see what we have never been able to see before.
Lord, thank you for the mysteries and the magnificence. Your greatness and the extent of your creativity is more than I can ever conceive. Amen.
1 What other created beings in the Bible have wings?
“I am delighted that the tower area is looking smart and informative. Thank you Susanne and Dennis for your work on this. It is still a work in progress but we are nearly there. We must all try to keep this important area tidy. It helps to give a positive impression to our many visitors and a sense of God’s presence in the church.”
The MU “Just A Bite” Committee invites couples to come to a Sparkling Tea at 3 pm at the Coffee shop on Sunday 8th February to launch Marriage week, 7th to 14th February, when there will be a display at church. Do you remember that magical time when you were courting? Marriage week is a massive aide memoire to the nation which says – “If you are fortunate enough to be in a marriage then you should look after it.” If you can join us please sign the list at the back of church. Feel free to bring your Wedding photos album. For more information please talk to Margaret Allen, Marlène Phillips or Rosemary Sage.
“… a mighty angel coming down from heaven …” (v.1) RSV
Most of our references to angels have been man-sized. They have appeared as ‘young men’ or ‘strangers but they have nevertheless been often awesome. The angel that appeared in the empty tomb of Jesus is described as having the “appearance like lightening, and his raiment white as snow” (Matthew 28:3). But if this was amazing what about the angel in our passage today: mighty and vast? We read of John’s vision of the spiritual warfare that lies behind the scenes.
In today’s reading, John sees “another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire” (v.1). This angel stood both in the sea and on the land at the same time (v.8). When he called out, “the seven thunders sounded” (v.3). This was no ordinary sight!
Normally their presence is not seen, but when they are seen their appearance is adapted to suit human encounter, and we should be heartened to know that the angelic host are far more powerful than we are. We have an incredible unseen army of great strength fighting on our behalf.
Not only can they be large and magnificent, they can also be fiery. Remember again the servant of Elisha having his eyes opened to see that they were surrounded for protection by “horses and chariots of fire” (2 Kings 6:17).
Sometimes we may wonder whether this use of angelic symbolism is literal or picturesque, but either way it expresses the magnificent power of God. Take the occasion when King Hezekiah was besieged in Jerusalem by a vast Assyrian army. In answer to prayer, “the Lord sent an angel, who cut off (slew) all the mighty …” (2 Chronicles 32:21). There is surely more in heaven and earth than we have ever imagined.
Lord, I stand in awe and wonder at the presence and power of your angelic host. May you send them forth to minister to the needs of your people. Amen.