Thursday, December 20, 2018

Advent Angels 20

If yesterday’s angels brought joy, today’s angels bring terror.

Despite the images you may see in pictures of angels playing harps, and assorted other instruments, the only instrument which angels play in the Bible is the trumpet. In the book of Revelation there are seven trumpeting angels, each one announcing some new chapter in the devastation which is hitting the earth.

Trumpets were used by armies to convey instructions to the troops in battle, from ancient times until at least WW1, and there was at least one bagpiper who piped the troops onto the Normandy beaches on D-Day. These are not angels who are providing soothing music as a backdrop to heavenly rejoicing, but angels who want to wake us up and get us ready for action.

John, in exile on Patmos, wants his churches, from whom he has been separated to know that their current suffering is not the end of the story. God will intervene in world events to bring down the oppressive powers which rule them and bring in his kingdom. This can’t happen without conflict, though, and the disasters the angels announce are a symbol of this.

·         Have you ever had to hear and take on board bad, but necessary news? How easy was it for you to hear it?

·         Why are we so ready to deny the reality of bad news, like the challenge of climate change?

·         What realities do you need to accept at this moment, and what changes might you need to make to respond to them?

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