Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Advent Angels 12

Read: Tobit 5

The book of Tobit is in the Apocrypha, a collection of writings not included in all Bibles. It is a story about a virtuous man called Tobit, who has become blind. He sends his son, Tobias, to retrieve some money of his, which he has left with a fellow Jew in Persia, so that he can be given a proper burial when he dies, and his widow be provided for. Tobias is anxious about the journey, but when he goes out to look for someone trustworthy to go with him, he is met by  a young man who turns out to be the angel Raphael.

Tobias doesn’t realise that he is travelling with an angel, but Raphael takes care of him all the way to Media and back, enabling him to cast out a demon which has been killing the bridegrooms of a woman whom he ends up marrying, helping him find the healing salve which will restore Tobit’s sight, and, of course, getting Tobit’s money back. The story ends with Raphael revealing his identity and blessing Tobias and his bride, Sarah. Raphael tells Tobit and Tobias that it was he who “read the record of your prayer before the glory of the Lord.” “Do not be afraid; peace be with you” he says, “Bless God evermore.”

It is a story which is well worth seeking out, if you haven’t got it in your own Bible – the Bibles in the pews in Seal Church include the apocrypha. This story seems to have been much loved in the Renaissance – there are many versions of it, though Raphael is usually depicted as having a splendid set of wings, so it is hard to see how Tobias didn’t notice there was something strange about his friend! 

The story of Tobias and the angel could be seen as an early version of a “buddy movie”. Have you ever had a “buddy” who has travelled with you through difficult times? What did their help mean to you

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