Angels Among Us

Posted: February 9th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Faith | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Do you believe in angels?

My wife’s question elicited an instant ‘yes‘ from me, but I also realized that in our modern world, we very rarely speak of angels. Oh, we’ll speak of their appearance in Scripture — in the past. We’ll sometimes have intellectual discussions about their nature and function. But even among the Christians I know, angels are rarely discussed as part of our present reality. I’m not sure why that’s so.

Angels, of course, are spiritual created beings while we are embodied created beings. As far as I can tell, that’s the core distinction between us. While angels are also free, as spiritual beings that freedom seems to have manifested differently for them than for us. It seems to have been more of a one time choice for or against God.

Angel is derived from the ancient Greek word, angelos, which means messenger. Throughout Christian history, God has sometimes sent a reposed saint as a messenger, but we do not become the spiritual beings known as angels nor do they become human beings. There seems to be some confusion today on that point.

My wife was quick to point out, though, that angels can manifest tangibly in the physical realm. And that’s quite true. Our guardian angels would not be very effective if that were not the case. My wife mentioned the stories of people who had been helped by a stranger only to have that person vanish in an instant.

“Of course,” I replied, “that happened to us all the time when I was growing up. My mother often needed all the help she could get.” I hadn’t really thought about it in years, but there’s a lot of truth in my quip. I had one of those interesting childhoods and my mother did have many struggles to overcome. We often ended up in difficult and sometimes dangerous situations. My mother often jokes that she’s worn out her guardian angel. While it’s a joke, there is an element of truth in her statement. We frequently received help unexpectedly. And I have no doubt that some who helped us were indeed angels. They appeared from nowhere and vanished just as quickly and totally. And I’m sure that some of the invisible help we received also came from angels.

Perhaps that’s one of the many reasons why, out of all that I’ve been and believed and practiced over the course of my life, I’ve never been tempted by any form of materialism. I’ve encountered and experienced the spiritual too much to pretend it does not exist. I’ve also never believed the spiritual realm was far removed from us as even many Christians today seem to believe. I’ve always known it was all around me, hardly a breath away. In some ways, I suppose much of my life has been a thin place.

My wife also asked if angels comfort us when we are in pain. I had to confess I simply don’t know. That they love us I have no doubt. After all, they are filled with the very love of God. But comfort requires a level of empathy I’m not sure they share. Christ does, since he became fully one of us in every way. Jesus of Nazareth overflows with comfort and peace for us. I’m not sure if angels can understand and empathize enough with us to truly offer comfort, though. Love, however, is always a comfort of sorts, even if the one loving doesn’t really understand your pain. And I’m certain they love us.

If anyone reading has any thoughts on angels, I invite you to share them in the comments.


One Comment on “Angels Among Us”

  1. 1 Ruth Ann said at 2:54 pm on February 9th, 2011:

    This statement resonates with me, “… I’ve never been tempted by any form of materialism. I’ve encountered and experienced the spiritual too much to pretend it does not exist. I’ve also never believed the spiritual realm was far removed from us as even many Christians today seem to believe. I’ve always known it was all around me, hardly a breath away. In some ways, I suppose much of my life has been a thin place.” I, too, seem to live in a thin place!