Herald angel – 30 September 2019
An angel swoops towards the world blowing a trumpet. It is night time, the moon is in the sky. Below the angel are pointed waves, the deep waters of chaos maybe. The angel is dressed in black, with wings like fire. The whole body of the angel is committed to urgent communication. After the trumpet has sounded, what message will follow? Will this be a message of judgement or of peace? Will the sharp waves devour the angel, or will they instead be stilled?
In the Book of Revelation angels, God’s messengers, are given trumpets that they might sound out into a world that has lost its way. The sound of these trumpets is a wake up call to all people to mend their ways.
The picture is by Eric Gill (1912), from a series of water-colours of scenes from the Bible stories, including the Nativity, produced just before he became Roman Catholic.
And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; and he said with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.”
He comes in flaming fire, and
With angels clear and bright,
Each with a trumpet in his hand,
Clothed in shining white.
The trump of God sounds in the air,
The dead do hear his voice;
The living too run here and there,
Who made not him their choice.
From ‘Of judgement’, John Bunyan
you have ordained and constituted
the ministries of angels and mortals in a wonderful order:
grant that as your holy angels always serve you in heaven,
so, at your command,
they may help and defend us on earth;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Collect of Michaelmas, Common Worship