Friday, October 1, 2010

Especially for My Protestant Readers

Some questions have come up in my various conversations this week, and I'd love to know your answers.  Anyone can respond of course; Protestant faith -- or any faith -- is not a requirement:

Do you believe in angels?

If so, do you invoke the assistance of angels?

Anything else you want to say on the subject?

The comment section is wide open.

(Image: Wings of the Archangel Michael, Lakeview Cemetery)


  1. Angels (the little glittery things that women wear on their jackets) are a manifestation of wishful thinking. Angels in the biblical sense are messengers of God (or perhaps manifestations of God). Angels in their present sense of magical protectors are symptomatic of the relegation of Christianity to magical thinking similar to that found in The Secret.

    I'm a bit grumpy this morning.

    No, I don't believe in angels. No I do not invoke their assistance, though I do give thanks to the parking gods when I find a good parking place. Already said what is to be said on the subject.

  2. As Joan just said, angels are Biblical--they are the messengers of God who appear in both the Old and the New Testament.

    I don't invoke the assistance of angels because they only work at the direction of God--so I go right to the source.

    I also believe that God can use the people around us as his messengers (or angels if you will) from time to time.

  3. Angels, in that glittery, cupid, or winged cherub sense, are a bit of magical thinking. If angels are messangers from God, beings that help guide me toward what God hopes for me in my life and what God hopes I can do for the world around me, then sure. The Holy Spirit is a creative entity and will find and use all means of communicating and reaching out to creation in order to manifest God's desire. Of course I also think it can take more than one lifetime, may take a millenia, for God's hopes to come I may never actually be cognizant of the angels who try to reach out to me.

  4. Ditto Quotidian Grace re: going straight to the source.

    I think they exist, but I think this is one area that I'm not meant to try to decipher.

  5. I'm going to echo your other commenters, but maybe not quite so adamantly. I do absolutely believe in angels, but they are messengers from God. I don't invoke them, but I think there are enough instances of them in the Bible that the possibility God send them to us exists. Hebrews 13:2 (NRSV) "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so some have entertained angels without knowing it." So, for me, the possibility exists, but as Di said, it's not for me to decipher.

    And I think popular media has done angels a mighty disservice with the "dead people become angels" notion. That would be an interesting paper to write sometime.

  6. Angels are God's messengers. That could be like Gabriel or "angels in human clothing". Either way they are sent from God for our help and guidance.
    Like the previous posts, I go straight for the Big Guy when I need help and/or guidance

  7. Before I became a Catholic my youngest son was born 9 weeks early and was very sickly. By the time he was 7 months old he had had pneumonia 4 or 5 times. Then he got pneumonia so badly that the doctors finally told us not to expect him to live through the night. I reached a point where I stopped praying for him to live but handed him over to God to heal or take.

    I slid into sleep at his bedside but woke in small hours. There were two "beings" with my little baby. Beings filled with light. I thought they had come to take him, but it turned out he wasn't ready to go and they had come to strengthen him.

    That baby is 16 now.

    I beleive those "beings" were angels. Not magical but certainly mystical. And as this same 16 year old is inclined to live and play hard I often ask them to watch him and be with him.

  8. Not that this will surprise anyone: Catholic girl here is way into the Communion of Saints, including angels, of whom I am especially aware each night during the closing prayer of Compline asking God to visit this house, drive far from it the deadly power of the enemy, and make the angels dwell with us to preserve us in peace. (Appears much less in the modern breviary but was nightly in the old Latin one, and I picked that up for Sophia's Book of Hours).....Probably because of the lack of concrete historical data, though, it took a lot longer to practically connect with them than with the other two categories of God's helpers that I often invoke along with lots of direct prayer to Her: official saints and my own beloved dead. Some of the popular stuff on angels is overly sentimental but I find some quite lovely and theologically on target with a strong emphasis on a loving personal relationship with God and angels as a special way of experiencing God's love, action, and transforming power in our lives. I think people are drawn to it in part because the image of God underlying it is unconditionally loving, versus the distorted Christian God most known in society through fundamentalist evangelism, and sadly preached in some churches too, who hates gays, non-Christians, etc.

  9. Well, they are mentioned in the Bible, so I suppose that I do believe in them. I don't tend to ask them for help, though perhaps the "guardian angel" concept might creep in once in a while. But when I ask for assistance, it's usually God/Jesus to whom I pray.

  10. I'm curious about what motivated the question, Robin, and your own beliefs and practices around angels, if any.

  11. Oh, someone asked me whether I believe in angels, and I said that I didn't know; that I wasn't sure that they ever come up in the Protestant church other than around Christmas. Later I remembered the Annunciation and Abraham's visitors. Then I discovered that the Feast of the Archangels occurred earlier this week in the RC church (and remembered that Michael and Gabe and Rafi are all fairly common names in the Orthodox Jewish world), and then that today is the Feast of the Guardian Angels, and then someone told me the story of Tobit (a book in the Catholic but not the Protestant Bible).

    So, as usual, once one of these topics gets rolling, I find out all kinds of things about which I know nothing, and then I become curious about what others believe and know and experience.

  12. I am thinking I would like to believe. I would like to believe in what happened to me at Wernersville too.

  13. Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work or watch or weep
    and give your angels charge over those who sleep....

    ~PCUSA Book of Common Worship, Night prayer

    I do believe. I don't have a fully fleshed out angelogogy. But... I've heard other stories such as the one Gaye tells.

    I guess there's still a bit of Catholic left in this Reformed Protestant girl.