I'm glad to report that eventually he did come out of his trance-like state. It was then that we discovered we would be studying angelology that day. So, of course, our lecturer had not been in a trance nor was he having a heart attack. Rather he had just been taking the time to acknowledge the angels in the room!
For the remainder of the year he would randomly divert his attention from us students to gaze at an empty space in the room, always with a cheeky grin on his face. Sometimes even, if someone said something precarious, he would apologise to the angels!
Our wise lecturer wanted to teach us that we should stop ignoring angels, as perhaps the church does, because the Bible talks about them hundreds of times.
This teaching method proved to be very effective on me. I often think of angels being present wherever I happen to be. At times I wonder if they are sitting on the kitchen bench watching me do the dishes. Or standing in the corner of my room as I fall asleep.
And when my child does disgusting toddler activities, I find my self blurting out 'you're grossing out the angels!' Which probably isn't that wise. I do worry that by saying this I might be conditioning my child to refuse the likes of showering, as to be modest in front of angels! (I say here angels and not God, because surely, I reason, God would not be embarrassed by my body but marvel at it as his marvellous creation?)
The grand comeback of Angels
Ironically, whilst the church might be ignoring angels it seems as if the non-Christian world is becoming increasingly interested in the spiritual beings. Apparently this is because of the influence of post-modernism and its rejection of a closed world and a developing openness to supernatural realities. Movies, television shows and the growing world of the occult and new age movements are evidence of this. So it seems, Angels are making a comeback
But exactly what do they do?
It's been relatively easy accepting that angels are present in my life a bit more, but it's harder trying to work out exactly what their role is.
You see, they don't seem to be shooing the swooping magpies away from my head as I ride my bike to the beach! And they are definitely not entertaining my toddler at five in the morning to give me a much needed sleep in (oh, if they'd just sing to her!). Angels don't seem that useful to me.
But at the same time they could, if God wanted them to do something about an attacking magpie (I won't speculate on any methodology). The Bible says that the good angels are servants of God (Psalm 103 verses 20-21) and worship Him (Revelation 7 verse 11). They can rescue us from harm (Acts 5 verse 19-20). Or even appear in human form, which is called angelophonies! Other interesting trivia about angels is that they are sexless and may even have their own language (1 Corinthians 13 verse 1)! They are our spectators.
It's not about angels, it's about Jesus!
But we should never worship them. One summer I did beach missions. I was about 17 years old. Our leader claimed to have many experiences with angels. I can no longer recall most of her detailed descriptions. Although I do remember her saying they were at least 10 feet tall, with legs as wide as tree trunks. Our leader even saw them whilst we were having our morning meeting. She talked about them more than God.
This seems unbiblical. And, unfortunately, I never did spot one. But I wondered for some time why God created such as disparity between the height of humans and angels, surely this makes things hard!
Perhaps a bit more thinking about and acknowledgement of angels will assist us to move beyond the material world that we live in, and turn our attention to the spiritual world, because it is equally as real. Post-modernism, a major focus of some Christians on spiritual warfare and deliverance ministries, and a danger of reverting to medieval superstition because of ignorance makes learning about spiritual beings important for our generation today.
Danielle and Daniel Stott are Bible College graduates who live on the southern Gold Coast. Daniel is training to be a teacher and Danielle is caring for their baby daughter.
Danielle and Daniel's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/d-and-d-stott.html