Today I celebrated in the 10:45 service of my parish church our Patronal Festival: that of St Michael. The name Michael translated from Hebrew means “who is like God”, and is reinterpreted as a symbol of humility before God.
Following in Michael’s light, it is clear to me that being humble people under God and one another is key to the “salvation” of our world. By that, I mean the saving of our world, not from a jealous man in the clouds, but, to be blunt, from one another. From our “sins” – our “human failings.” To remember to be humble is to “repent” – “turn around” from the bad way and choose goodness.
St Michael the Archangel is seen to embody humility, to respect and protect. We as the angelos – the angels/messengers today, the children of God – should aim to the do the same.
Our first hymn today (no. 636: The Church’s One Foundation) spoke to me:
…’Mid toil and tribulation,
and tumult of her war,
she waits the consummation
of peace forevermore;
till with the vision glorious
her longing eyes are blest,
and the great Church victorious
shall be the Church at rest…
Christ’s vision, Christ’s love, Christ’s peace may enter our lives amidst the chaos of battles and noise and bring the Church to rest, if we let it. If we let Christ work within us. We are “the body of Christ.”
I wrote on Friday about the charity “Feeding America”, and various times in the past I have written about the hungry in Africa. Now there are many, many ways in which I understand the phrase “the body of Christ.” It is perhaps suitable today to share one of my thoughts on it. When it is time for communion (we receive the bread and wine), the priest breaks the bread and says “We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.” Then the congregation says back “Though we are many, we are one body, because we all share in one bread.” Now Christ sustains us spiritually. But perhaps there was, is, a lot more to it than that. Let me create an image for you. Imagine if the priest broke the bread and then ate it and gave it to the first 3 rows of people but the rest got ignored because the bread ran out, or because the people in the first 3 rows decided they wanted 4 wafers instead of 1. Now that wouldn’t be any good would it? The point I’m trying to make (and I discuss this in greater detail in one of my sermons which can be found here), is that sharing is of the utmost importance.
It’s no good to keep all the bread to ourselves. There’s enough to get around the world. The point of communion is to share, to bring one another together in a sacred act, to remember Christ’s life in the past and in the present. Christ shared himself, and he shared what he had. We can do the same. We must do the same. We must share the bread, we must share ourselves. We must love one another.
Our final hymn (no 97: Christ Sure Foundation) made me smile. “Christ the head and cornerstone… binding all the Church in one… turn our darkness into day.” Is Christ binding all the Church in one? Well he would if we let him! He’d bind the world!