14thC fusion of Old English engel and Old French angele, both from Latin angelus, from Greek angelos ‘messenger, envoy, one that announces’.
a cycle of poems for Easter after The Stations of the Cross
1. Station The First
Jesus is Condemned to Death
His mind stayed on the supper table
when they dressed him in the contents of
the cup and from sharp thorns felt trickle
down into his mouth the vintage of
their hate. His mind stayed on the supper
table when they broke his body like
a loaf of bread - dough soft, the mixture
and measure of their resolve to strike
and silence him despite the cost. His mind
stayed on the supper table for this
longest season of his life. But when time
and truth ran out, behind him, behind
his bound wrists, knew only for their sake
he held the armies of the angels back.
If you had asked a person 1000 years ago if they believed in angels they would have certainly replied in the affirmative. It is difficult in modern times to take angels seriously. I do - and believe in them. I suppose most people today would ask if angels are real or merely symbolic. For me they are neither but exist as angels and do their angel ‘work’ somewhere between these two things. Noted for their work as messengers and protectors, my guardian angel is more a presence as a muse. She watches over my work, she gives me confidence and inspiration, and she goes away and comes back. And she celebrates with me the finished poem.
Reading: St Matthew 28: 1-10
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” NIV
Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o’er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation’s story
Now proclaim Messiah’s birth.
Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King.
James Montgomery, 1816
Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains,
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains.
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Traditional French carol
©Jeff Guess 2017