Monday, September 29, 2014 – Feast of St. Michael & All Angels
[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]
Today’s Readings for the Daily Office
Psalms 8, 148 (morning) // 38, 150 or 104 (evening)
At first glance, today’s readings seem awfully preoccupied with the pecking order of the universe. Our reading from Hebrews establishes that the Son of God is “much superior to angels.” Our first Psalm explains that human beings are just a “little lower than the angels,” and that all other things are “under [their] feet”: sheep, oxen, wild beasts, birds, and sea creatures. In this cosmic hierarchy, birds may fly over our heads, but they are still beneath us!
Remember, though that Christ’s ministry turns this organizational chart of the universe on its head: In God’s creation, every being that is above another is designed to serve the beings below. Christ came to serve, not to be served. As for the angels, they are “spirits in the divine service, sent to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation.” And as for us, the “mastery” over God’s works that the Psalmist ascribes to us should likewise be expressed as service to the wild and domestic animals of field, sky, and sea.
But since today is a feast day, let’s not simply rise to the occasion of serving this glorious world, but also allow ourselves to be waited upon. Can you experience the angels serving you today? Will the kindness of others, an unexpected blessing, a release of self-defeating thoughts, help nurture and serve you?
It’s not always easy to let ourselves be served. Sunday mornings are usually a bit rushed for me, and my husband often makes me coffee to drink on my drive to the early church service. I tried to help yesterday morning by putting a splash of milk in the to-go cup in advance, before the coffee was done. My husband said, “Oh . . . but I wanted to warm up the cup for you!” (Is he an angel or what?)
I regretted not letting myself be served by one who wanted to serve me yesterday. So today, let’s be extra attuned to the angels in our midst, and to the small and mysterious ways that they might surprise us with their service. As our second reading asks, are they not “sent to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” Let’s see what they can do for us instead of trying to do it all ourselves.
Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.