We Are Not Alone

Today in the Orthodox Church, as we do every November 8, we celebrate the Bodiless Powers of Heaven, known better to most as the “angels.” It’s a good reminder that the phrase “We are not alone” does not only apply to science fiction movies about aliens from another planet visiting Earth. We are taught that God assigns a Guardian Angel to each of us at our Baptism, and employs the angels as His messengers, bringing us messages usually in subtle ways, but occasionally in very striking ways. The word “angel” comes from the Greek word “angellos” which means “messenger.”

But there’s another function of the Heavenly Hosts besides being messengers. As such, they are God’s mystical army, battling the forces of evil in ways beyond our understanding. This battle wasn’t always raging, but began with an angel named Lucifer, (meaning the “bearer of light”) who chose to be anything but that. Not being satisfied to be the Supreme Commander of the Heavenly Host, he foolishly thought he could gather a rebel army of other disaffected angels and attempt to take on God for the rule of all Heaven and Earth. As this rebellion unfolded, Lucifer—who we would come to know later on as Satan—was able to rally one-third of all the angels into his foolish rebellion. Since His Supreme Commander was leading this rebellion, God looked to another of His Angels to replace him and appointed the Archangel Michael to lead the heavenly army. Lucifer and his failed rebels were quickly dispatched from Heaven, and cast down to Earth, where they wait for their final punishment on the Last Day. Here they spend their remaining days working to deceive us into their own deluded and failed rebellion against God.

It’s interesting to note that the name “Michael” is really a question, and a rhetorical one at that. In response to Lucifer’s absurd notion that he could be like God, Michael stands in opposition and asks—rhetorically—“Who can be like God?” The answer is obviously “No one!!” Michael leads the fight against evil by reminding us that God is God and we are not. He reminds us that God is not only the Ultimate Power, but the Ultimate Lover. He sends Michael and all the Angels to guide us, protect us, and remind us of BOTH God’s love and His power.

At times when so much goes on outside our control and we learn that there seems to be so much to fear, the Angels remind us we have nothing to fear that God has not already conquered, including all the power of evil and even death itself. We are surrounded by an invisible army of the Heavenly Hosts and with the Presence of the God they serve. The God who lives—and died—to serve us.  We are never, ever alone.