Michaelmas — St. Michael and All Angels Day
Today is the feast of Michaelmas in the church. It is a day that the church traditionally remembers and acknowledges God‘s other creatures — the angels. Chief among them is St. Michael. Angels are created beings although the Bible is silent as to the time of their creation. They also serve as messengers providing messages from God to men, foretelling special acts of God, agents of God’s wrath and judgment, and agents of the divine providence of God.Scripture distinguishes between only two ranks of angels — angel and archangel. Any other references to ranks of angels is primarily speculation. The Bible mentions in addition to angels, two special kinds of angels — the cherubim and seraphim. God is enthroned above the cherubim (Revelation) and is mentioned as riding above the cherubim in Ezekiel. Seraphim are described by Isaiah as having six wings. They also appear to be the four living creatures John describes in Revelation 4. Incidentally, no other angel is described as having wings.
Michael is mentioned as an archangel, the leader of God’s army. It was he who led the host of God against Satan and the fallen angels, and threw them out of heaven. Michael is mentioned by name three times in the Bible — Daniel 12, Jude, and Revelation. Jude notes that Michael disputed with Satan over the body of Moses. The only other angel mentioned by name in the Bible is Gabriel in Luke and Daniel 8.
The church has observed St. Michael and All Angels day going back to the first century. Angel worship is forbidden. But we worship with the angels every Sunday the world round where the liturgy is used when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, just before the words of institution when the Pastor says:
With angels and archangels, and all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify your Holy Name, evermore praising you and saying: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Sabaoth. Heaven and earth are full of the majesty of your Glory. Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!
Our voices joined with the angels and the saints in heaven every time we celebrate the Eucharist. We announce the coming of our Lord and Savior into our very presence and uniting Himself to us in the meal He prepared for us.
The Collect for Michaelmas.
Everlasting God, You have ordained and constituted the service of angels and men in a wonderful order. Mercifully grant that, as Your holy angels always serve and worship You in heaven, so by Your appointment they may also help and defend us here on earth; through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
- 1″At that time shall arise(A) Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And(B)there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered,(C) everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. 2And many of those who(D)sleep in(E) the dust of the earth shall(F) awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3(G)And those who are wise(H) shall shine like the brightness of the sky above;[a] and(I) those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
Source for information on Angels: Christian Cyclopedia.