Do you believe in angels?
A lot of what we find in scripture is metaphor.
But I don't think everything is.
When I read accounts of angels, for instance, I don't get the feeling I'm reading about something symbolic.
The Hebrew word for angel, mal’ach, means messenger, and angels are mentioned 273 times in the Bible.
Belief in angels is one of the Six Articles in Faith in Islam.
In Buddhism, there's an angel equivalent - the devas, considered celestial beings. Some schools of Buddhism also refer to dharmapalas or dharma protectors.
I certainly don't think angels are fluffy white little creatures that look like they just flew off of a greeting card. I think there's a reason they generally announce themselves by saying, Don't be afraid.
Where we find them
Why would there be angelic intervention?
Why would some people be saved or protected and not others?
Why are there times when it seems we are protected and other times when it seems we are not?
What does "protection" even mean?
I can only speculate.
Trusting in the love of God and accepting there mystery may not be a satisfying answer, but sometimes, it's the only one I have.
Angels, human and celestial
I often hear people, who cannot quite accept the idea of winged messengers or heavenly beings, talk about how we are the angels, acting in one another's lives.
Of course, without a doubt, this is true.
I think of the time my mother and I were trying to navigate JFK to make our international flight. It was chaos and nothing was clear. We couldn't figure out where we were supposed to be or what we were supposed to do.
Suddenly, a man appeared next to us.
Gently, he showed us the way, told us which kiosk we needed.
We thanked him and then he was gone, off to his own flight.
We needed his wisdom and his kindness and there it was.
That's an example of a human angel in action.
The volunteers at soup kitchens and homeless shelters, social workers, nurses, firefighters, animal rescuers...all human angels.
But I am also drawn to the stories of the sudden appearance of a helper - someone who shows up at exactly the right time out of the seeming nowhere, does a life-saving deed, then disappears into the ethers, never to be seen again.
When someone says to me they encountered an angel, I tend to believe them, not because they can somehow prove it, but because they alone know how they felt when the interaction occurred.
I do believe there are angels in our midst - spiritual entities who care about our well-being, the well-being of this world.
I do believe I have a guardian angel. (He doesn't look like the angel in this painting.)
I believe it's true for all of us.
I don't dare try to explain what I think a guardian angel is or how they move or what they do and don't do.
I know there have been moments when I've felt myself lifted up, out of my life, out of the jaws of gravity and physics, then placed back down.
It is enough for me that angels exist, real or metaphor.
This angel is the Angel of Divine Order because Divine Order is my sacred word for 2018.
Divine Order is my reminder to listen for God and trust what I hear.
Trust my spiritual compass.
This angel holds for me the truth of interconnection, that we are each a part of the whole, that the whole is held in love and moving in balance and harmony.
This angel reminds me to be patient with holy timing.
Divine Order is a bit of a sticky concept for me.
As you know, I don't believe everything happens for a reason.
But I do believe that we are seen and heard and loved, and I do believe God moves among us and within us.
I do believe in a Divine Order to things, and what I want very much for this new year is to feel the peace of that in every moment of my day.
Let go, let go, let go the angels say to me.
Happy New Year.
So, what about you?
Do you believe in angels?
Have you ever experienced angelic intervention?