Angel - extract from fresco which once decorated the Torre della Gabbia in Mantua


The Shepherds and the Angels (Luke 2:8-14)

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’

Did you know…?

  • that ‘angel’ means ‘messenger’ and in Judaism and Christianity angels are the messengers of God, heavenly beings sent by God with important messages for human beings?
  • that some angels have names, like Gabriel, who appeared to Mary to tell her she was going to be the mother of Jesus? But most are part of the nameless ‘heavenly host’.
  • that in the stories about Jesus angels bring good news and almost always begin their message with ‘Do not be afraid’?

Have you ever…?

  • had an encounter with an angel? If you have, what did it feel like? Did it change you?
  • felt like you are being looked after by an angel?
  • come across the idea that we all have guardian angels, an angel specifically assigned to us?
  • wondered if there is an area of your life where you need to hear the message of the angels today, ‘Do not be afraid’?

You might like to…

  • look for a special type of angel which is depicted in the stained glass behind the altar at St Paul’s. This angel is known as a seraph and has six wings: two covering its face, two its feet and two to fly.
  • look for any other angels in the church.
  • visit the striking ‘Angel of Welcome’ at the entrance to the University in Sparkford Road.
  • read Maya Angelou’s Touched by an Angel and My Guardian Angel by Robert William Service.
  • talk to your guardian angel using this traditional prayer:
    Angel of God, my guardian dear,
    to whom God’s love commits me here,
    ever this day, be at my side,
    to light and guard, rule and guide.
  • listen to Eric Whitacer’s Lux Aurumque.
  • listen to Abba, I Have a Dream (I Believe in Angels).
  • watch the classic movie The Bishop’s Wife.

If you would like to know more about the part that angels play in our faith, please come to our short talk at 10 am at St Paul’s on Saturday 13 January 2024.