Luke 1: 5-25...an angel!
I confess it. My angelology is kind of thin. I revel in the mysteriousness of God who is both invisible and makes himself known in fires, clouds, and still small voices. I'm ok with the numinous and ethereal. I get the word: dabar....logos. I love the power and elasticity of words, especially spoken, read and written. Words are portable and transferable from one person, one generation to another. I love Jesus of Nazareth, of God taking on flesh and becoming one of us. That's why trips to Israel get richer and richer for me. I imagine him walking the roads and standing by the shore line. I understand one person's touch, voice, suffering and pain. But angels!
I just don't always get angels. They seem to be distracting presences. Where were they before they showed up? What were they doing? Where do they go after their appearance? What are they doing right now? Where do they come from? Where do they go? And what's with their names? Gabriel, Michael?
So much of my reaction to angels comes from the extra-biblical, cultural sentimentality we have associated with them. Cherubs, wings, guardian angels, Christmas tree ornaments and sparkling dusted cards. I recoil against the Baroque frills and filagrees of angels floating around everywhere like wallpaper. Maybe my masculine identity does not related to the over-feminization of angel imagery. So if it were my preference, I wouldn't deal much with angels, much less preach about them.
Yet...they are there in Scripture. And they are especially present in and around the birth of Jesus. So, for the next five weeks each Sunday will be devoted to an angelic appearance and experience.
This week we will explore what really happened to old Zechariah in the Temple when Gabriel showed up.