Angels in the Wilderness

“And suddenly angels came and waited on him.” (Matthew 4:11b)

This is how Matthew concludes his account of Jesus’ time in the wilderness after his baptism; that time upon which the season of Lent is based.

This brief verse (actually half a verse) is the basis of a myriad of classical paintings and other works of art depicting angels attending to an exhausted Jesus who has just fended off repeated temptations by none other than Satan himself over the course of 40 days.

To me, this is an important facet of our Lenten journey. It tells us that if we have the courage to venture into those dry, desert places in our lives; those difficult, challenging places of hardship and woundedness, we will find angels to support us and care for us.

As many of you know, angels are an important part of my own spirituality; an emphasis within Christianity that was downplayed almost out of existence by the Protestant reformers. When recovered, there is a rich dimension to our faith that can be found in exploring the role and possibilities of these divine intermediaries, these messengers from God.

I invite you to consider the role of angels in your life during this Lenten season; especially as you walk “the wilderness way” of Jesus this time of year. Angels provide companionship, guidance, assurance, and peace. They are sources of light and clarity. And in the parched times in life, they come to “wait on you” as they did Jesus.

The nearness of angels in such times may come in the form of a mystical presence. It may come in the form of a supportive friend, loved one, or community. It may come in the form of odd “coincidences” that remind you that you are part of something far bigger than you realize.

The notion of angels should also prompt us to ask how we can be like them. How can we be those who provide what angels seek to provide: comfort, assurance, healing, and guidance? Who, in your life right now, could use such an angelic presence? Can you be that presence?
God never abandoned Jesus in the wilderness and God will never abandon you there either. Angels are ever present to help you see what you need to see, learn what you need to learn, and inspire you to work with them in the service of others.

See you in church,
–Rev. Dominic