Michaelmas, as today is known in other parts of the Anglican Communion, is celebrated on September 29. In England it’s a day associated with the change of seasons, since it falls near the autumnal equinox, and was a day when the harvest was finished and accounts settled. St. Michael, the Archangel is often depicted as an armored, warlike figure, and he is responsible for defeating Lucifer in the 12thchapter of the Book of Revelations. Michael is considered our protector against the dangers of the darkness and according to that all-knowing source of information, Wikipedia, he was also the “administrator of cosmic intelligence”.
I just can’t let that go by. The Administrator of Cosmic Intelligence? If ever there were two things I wouldn’t expect to see in the same sentence it would be “Administrator” and “Cosmic Intelligence”, but there it is. I want that job.
Though we might not consider the observance of any saints’ day as relevant, I think we all sense the work of angels in our lives at one time or another. Usually, however, we give them human form – in fact we usually know them well. They are the people in our lives who swoop into our consciousness with just the right word or look or gift of time.
I’m reminded that there are nine orders of angels: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Princedoms, Powers, Virtues, Archangels, and Angels. You can look them up if you need to know more precisely how their jobs are defined. We do sing about all nine orders in a favorite hymn, found in The Hymnal 1982 at number 618, Ye watchers and ye holy ones.
I find two things especially wonderful about angels. First, the concept of an Administrator of Cosmic Intelligence is part of all faith traditions and I’m always glad to know more about what binds us together than what things separate us. Second, angels are a highly musical group. The Bible, literature and art have them playing instruments of various kinds, and we are fond of saying that someone sings or plays like an angel.
I’m happy just believing that angels do exist, administering cosmic intelligence in ways that we can’t always define, but that, should we take a moment today to think about it, we do feel on occasion.