Angels on Candles


If you have not looked properly at them do please look at the decorated candles, down by the font, in both churches.  The paschal (Easter) candles are dedicated at Easter and are a sign of the light of the resurrection overcoming the darkness of the world.  You have to include certain things such as the date and a cross, but the artist is allowed a free rein after that.


The Crowhurrst candle, painted by Valerie Wellard, has a lamb on it and the Catsfield one, by Anita Heyworth, has two magnificent angels rejoicing in the resurrection.  I noticed that the angels have scarlet robes peeking out at the bottom. Only the Chapel Royal and royal chaplains are allowed to wear scarlet robes in England, but since angels are so close to the throne of God, it seems even more appropriate for them to have a bit of scarlet too.


Of course nobody really knows what an angel should look like. We have physical bodies, but angels are purely spiritual beings.  When people say that they have seen or heard angels they have almost certainly had an internal spiritual experience, but are giving it a physical form.  When the Prophet Elisha’s servant complains that he can’t see the angels the prophet prays for him to be able to perceive these spiritual beings. (2 Kings 6:17)


The Bible tells us that angels are God’s messengers (that is literally what the term angels means), that they worship Him and that we all have angels watching over us.  In some respects it is a lovely though that we all have a guardian angel.  As King David put it, in the ninety-first psalm: ‘For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.’


The thought of a guardian angel, however, is also a pretty challenging thing.  Pope John XXIII reflected in his private diary ‘How can I entertain certain proud thoughts, say certain works, commit certain actions, under the eyes of my Guardian Angel? And yet I have done this.’


Of course we all make mistakes and even the angels have gone wrong.  The prophet Isaiah (14:12-14) mourned how the angel Lucifer, that bright ‘morning star’ had fallen from heaven for trying to raise himself above God.


However it would probably be fair to say that you are either a good angel close to God, or a fallen one; there is nothing in between.  Men and women, by contrast, are a mixture of good and bad and sometimes walk towards God, but are just as likely to go in the other direction.


The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews (Chapter 2) thought it was, therefore, amazing that God, in Jesus Christ, should make Himself lower than the angels by becoming human.  Furthermore he did it, so that he might make us His precious children, which is not a term ever used for the angels.


Two fallen angels in the C.S Lewis’s book The Screwtape Letters discuss why God should want to bother with human beings.  The conclude that ‘all the talk about His love for men… is not (as one would gladly believe) more propaganda, but an appalling truth.’


The truth may be appalling to those forces opposed to God, but the wonder that God makes Himself even lower than the angels, so that we too might be part of his family, should be joyous to us. We may not be dressed in scarlet robes, but we are invited, just as much as the Catsfield angels, to stand around the throne of God.


Father Michael





Posted By: valerie

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