29 September 2007

St. Michael and All Angels

Today the Church remembers and gives thanks to God for St. Michael and All Angels.

In the festival texts appointed for the day (Daniel 10:10-14; 12:1-3; Revelation 12:7-12; and Matthew 18:1-11), we see St. Michael as God's "archangel general" who engages in battle against the old evil foe. As a result of this cosmic battle, "the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan" (Rev. 12:9). However, even the angels join the faithful in realizing that "they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony" (Rev. 12:11).

We also remember the other angels mentioned in the Scriptures - Gabriel (especially noted for his message to the Virgin Mary in Luke 1) and Raphael (noted in the Apocryphal book of Tobit for healing Tobit's eyes).

This hymn, from Lutheran Service Book (520), gives fitting tribute to the hosts of angels and proper thanks and praise to God for giving them to us as His "ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation" (Hebrews 1:14):

Stars of the morning, so gloriously bright,
Angels in heaven, resplendent in light,
These, where no darkness the glory can dim,
Praise the Thrice Holy One, serving but Him.

These are Your ministers, these are Your own,
Lord God of Sabaoth, nearest Your throne;
These are Your messengers, these whom You send,
Helping Your helpless ones, Helper and Friend.

Then, when the earth was first poised in midspace,
Then, when the planets first sped on their race,
Then, when were ended the six days' employ,
Then all the sons of God shouted for joy.

Still let them aid us and still let them fight,
Lord of angelic hosts, battling for right,
Till, where their anthems they ceaselessly pour,
We with the angels may bow and adore. (
LSB 520)

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