St. Michael & All Angels (September 29)
O EVERLASTING God, who hast ordained and constituted the services of Angels and men in a wonderful order; Mercifully grant that, as thy holy Angels always do thee service in heaven, so, by thy appointment, they may succour and defend us on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Revelation xii. 7.
THERE was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
St. Matthew xviii. 1.
AT the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying,, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell-fire. Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
(Below is a sermon on St. Michael and All Angels by the Most Rev. John T. Cahoon, Jr., late Metropolitan, Anglican Catholic Church, Bishop Ordinary, Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic States, and Rector, St. Andrew and St. Margaret of Scotland Church Alexandria, Virginia.)
St. Michael appears first by name in the Old Testament book of the prophet Daniel. He is described as a prince who appears to be a messenger from God and as someone who stands up for the people of God at the end of time. Later on in the New Testament epistle of St. Jude, Michael rebukes the devil as he fights with him over the body of Moses.
The most sustained amount of information we have about St. Michael is in the morning's epistle, from the Book of Revelation. What this passage describes, in the very last book of the Bible, is something which we might more reasonably expect to appear in the first book of the Bible.
That is the explanation of how evil entered the world -- or, more properly, in terms of the way the story plays out -- how it was that the serpent who beguiled Adam and Eve came to be in the Garden of Eden in the first place.
St. John tells us that there was war in heaven, and that Michael led the heavenly hosts into battle against the dragon. The dragon is the serpent. He is called "the devil" --which means "the one who slanders", and "Satan" -- which means "the adversary" and he deceives the whole world as he first deceived Eve.
So what we have amounts to a civil war among the angels in heaven. Some of them stick with God and have Michael as their general, and some join the dragon's rebellion. We have met the dragon in the preceding verses of chapter 12, in which he chases after a woman who appears in the sky clothed with the sun and who gives birth to a manchild who is snatched up into heaven.
All of that reveals the devil as the persecutor of God's people -- first Israel and then the church. The dragon loses the battle against St. Michael, but instead of being exterminated completely, the serpent and his angels are cast down onto the earth. That is how they got here, and, at least the last time I checked, they are still here and still very active here.
God lets the devil and his junior imps operate here on earth so that the idea that we have the same free will God does can have some actual meaning. If we had no choice, there would be no free will. The devil's presence and his always trying to get us away from God guarantees that we always have a choice.
But the ultimate earthly outcome is guaranteed. The devil is not going to win. He lost out in heaven, and his earthly doom was sealed by Jesus' death on the cross. St. John tells us that the angels say the devil is angry because he knows he has but a short time.
The time will come when God will prevail over him once and for all, so Satan is always in a hurry. The war in heaven continues on in our hearts. We are best advised to try to stick with St. Michael.
In the gospel Jesus tells us about guardian angels. The disciples have come to him to ask who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven -- hoping, no doubt, that he will point to one of them and say, "Why you are, of course." Instead, he shows them a child and says that they have to change their ways and become like little children or they won't even get into the kingdom of heaven, let alone be the greatest one in it.
He tells them they must humble themselves as little children. It doesn't seem to me that humility as we normally think of it is particularly a characteristic of little children. Little children are usually as pushy and self-centered and whiny as most adults are.
Jesus means that little children have the built-in trust that their parents know what they are doing and that their parents will take care of them. We should cultivate the same level of trust in our father in heaven.
He goes on to talk about the consequences of giving offense to little children who believe in him -- which means trying to get anyone to give up his confidence in Jesus. He says that such a person would be better off having a big rock tied around his neck and then getting thrown into deep water.
After talking about how one has to get rid of anything that draws him away from God, Jesus concludes, "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven."
Whenever angels appear in the Bible, they are so frightening that the first thing they have to say is "Fear not," or, "Be not afraid." The implication is clear -- if you try to get anyone away from Jesus -- especially a trusting little child -- you are going to have to answer to his angel, and angels are scary.
Even if we never experience angels directly in any other way, we meet up with them every time we celebrate Holy Communion. The song the angels sing in heaven is "Holy, Holy, Holy," and we always sing it "with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven." The angels are not at war with us unless we provoke them. Let's try not to.
All things come of thee, O Lord, and of thine own have we given thee
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Sunday Services, 7:45 AM, 9:00 AM, & 11:15 AM (for online participation for the services go to: https://www.facebook.com/saintsofscotland/ )
Sunday School at 10:30 AM
Wednesday at Noon – Holy Communion and anointing for healing (for online participation, check info under Sunday Services)
Annual Pet Blessing, Saturday, October 7, between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. To volunteer, please email Deacon Chris at email@example.com. Please invite your family, friends and neighbors with pets to come and have the pets blessed.
Altar Guild Class – Next Saturday, October 7, at 10:30 a.m. The class is designed for altar guild members desiring a refresher course and for those who might be interested in serving in this important ministry.
Annual Parish Picnic, Sunday October 8 at Fort Hunt Park off George Washington Parkway, following a 10 AM combined service (no 9:00 AM or 11:15 AM services that day). Please bring a side dish or dessert to share. The parish will provide BBQ, hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad and cole slaw. A great and fun event to invite your family, friends and neighbors to attend.
St. Andrew & St. Margaret parish has a long history of helping others in the community. Two of our ways of doing this are food donations for the Christ House food bank and needs for babies and infants to the local crisis pregnancy center. Please take a look at the lists below and, if you can, please provide some of the needed items. You can also help by donating money through the secure donation button in this e-letter by selecting Charity & Mercy in the drop down menu on the donation page. Thank you.
Please help this month with a food donation if you are able. Christ House is very thankful for the food we provide to them each month. Please also buy low sugar cereals (and not the kid's types that have lots of sugar). Current needs include the following:
• canned meats (chicken, corned beef, spam)
• peanut butter
• canned vegetables (corn, green beans - (regular and low sodium)
• individual fruit cups (low sugar)
• canned fruit (low sugar)
• cereal (low sugar)
• pasta (regular and gluten-free)
• instant potatoes
• Macaroni & cheese kits
• Coffee, cooking oil, flour, sugar
The list for MaRIH Crisis Pregnancy Center's needs was just updated again. The items in bold type are in critical need. If you can, please donate those items.
Updated List of Needs for MaRIH Center (crisis pregnancy center)
MaRIH Center with its all volunteer staff provides help to mothers-to-be and mothers in need. If you can provide some of the items that are needed, please do so. (You can leave the donations where the food for the food bank is collected on the pew in the undercorft.)
In Bold and * are a critical need.
Diapers (sizes newborn, 1, 2, 3, 4*, 5*, & 6*)
Diaper rash ointment
Fall/Winter Clothing:0-3 mo*, 3-6 mo*, 12-18 mo*, 2T*
Formula: Simulac Advance Formula*
Formula: other but not recalled
Grocery gift cards*
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