In this two-session study we'll explore the role of angels in spirituality. Angels are often mentioned in the Bible and they have played important roles in Christian spirituality through the centuries. They are even prominently featured in contemporary books, movies, and television shows.
Tradition asserts that, unlike God, angels can be both seen and heard. Therefore, as God's representatives, angels offer a way to envision God's earthly presence and they also present God's message by showing us:
- how God is active in the world
- how we mortals may enter into God's presence
- whether God protects us in times of physical or moral danger
- how God guides us in the right course of action
- what happens when we depart from God's way by succumbing to temptation
- whether and how God is present with us at death
The first session offers a broad survey of the history of angels, beginning in the biblical era and moving to the present. The survey will help participants to see how our society's quilt of beliefs about angels came to be.
In the second session we'll consider how the earliest Christians tried to understand the identity of Christ by drawing upon ideas about angels. Such ideas helped them to understand Christ as one who perfectly reflects the glory of God. We'll examine what that glory looks like and how our deep encounter with it changes us and can change our world. Ultimately, the focus shifts away from encounters with heavenly (supernatural) angels and onto how we can become angels to one another.