Feast of St.Michael & All Angels

Michaelmas and the transfigured imagination

The diabolical way of seeing things is to see absolutely everything in terms of you. The devils can only think of the world as something for them. They are constantly attempting to control and contain the world, to stuff it into their own egos. They have no imagination, the devils. (That, I’m afraid, is why they’re going to lose in the long run.)

Angels see things in terms of their relationship with God. They’re full of imagination. When they look at the world, when they look at you and me, they see the extraordinary potential buried in us because they see us in our relationship with God. The Angel Gabriel comes to Mary and says, ‘You may be a teenager in a village nobody has heard of, on the edge of the Roman Empire in an occupied country, without any education, without a vote, without even a change of clothes, and you are going to be where God happens.’ (The Angel Gabriel is strong on imagination.)

+Rowan Williams, November 2011

“They’re full of imagination” – with these words +Rowan brings us to see the importance of angels to the Church’s proclamation.  They open our imagination to the Beautiful and the Real, to the One who is present, who has created and redeemed us, the physical and material, for communion in light and glory.

So by thy appointment they may succour and defend us on earth (BCP collect for St Michael and All Angels).

They succour and defend us by drawing us into their imagination, bringing us to behold what they behold.

Heaven and earth are full of thy glory.   

Full.  The angelic song in which the Church joins in the Eucharist is the heart of the angelic imagination.  ‘Full of thy glory.’  All things touched by, caught up in, drenched in glory. Full.

Whereas the demons offer us, in the words of T.S. Eliot, “the cold friction of expiring sense/Without enchantment”, the angels invite us to share their imagination, to behold glory, to rejoice and adore.

Michaelmas is an invitation to a transfigured imagination – an imagination open to the Real.  It is an invitation to know with Jacob, by the presence and ministry of angels, that the times and places our journeys, and those who accompany us, are shot through with a glory that “the cold friction of expiring sense” cannot discern.

Today’s feast is a call to see, and participate in, a “wonderful order”, that we may say of seemingly ordinary times and places and persons:

This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. 

Having just returned from our own special con-Celebration of the Solemn Eucharist for the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels at our Patronal Festival in Christchurch, N.Z., I was delighted to find this, and another article on the www, drawing attention to today’s Feast in the Church.
I feel particularly blessed (as a ‘retired’ priest) to be on the staff of SMAA, Christchurch, where the Daily Mass is a constant reminder of the presence of the angels and saints around the Holy Table of The Lord. In these times when some conservative members of our Church are speaking darkly of the ‘demonic forces’ at work in those of us who contend for the welcome and inclusion of LGBTI people in the ministry and mission of the Church; it is good to remind them, and ourselves, whose ministry and mission we are involved in. It is that of The Christ who befriended the poor and the marginalised, and whose angels are on guard against anything that will bring discord into the harmony of God’s Kingdom.
“Almighty and everlasting God,
 whom we adore with all the angelic host,may we always rejoice in your heavenly            protection, and serve you faithfully in this present life, through Jesus Christ our lord.”
(Collect from N.Z.Prayer Book)
Here is a link to an article from ‘Episcopal Cafe’ on this Feastday:
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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