My homily went well last night and I felt good writing it and giving it. I had a moment of "oops" when I opened the bulletin and saw that the title of my homily was "The Fallen Angel." Matt. 4 is a dramatic Bible story, about Satan tempting Jesus in the wilderness after Jesus has retreated and fasted for 40 days. I imagine that the scripture quoting that goes back and forth must be similar to what the Rabinical scholars do. The little detail of the story that has always had me puzzled is the part that says, "the tempter took him..." How did Satan transport Jesus here and there? Does the fallen angel still have wings? Did they magically transport through time and space?
I was focusing on none of that. When I got the phone call a month ago asking me to preach, I was told that the text was about the angels ministering to Jesus. There are lots of good, hard working angels in this passage who are usually overlooked because of the strong story of the devil and Jesus in the wilderness.
This sermon series was supposed to be about the angels in the Bible. It turns out that isn't much in the way of descriptions of angels. That there ARE angels is taken for granted, and there is no doubt that when an angel appears to someone, the creature is recognized as an angel.
But there is quite a bit about what angels do, so I focused my sermon on the "ministry" of the angels as an example that we can follow. Here is an excerpt from the middle of the sermon.
To minister is (1) to perform the functions of a minister of religion and (2) to give aid or service to another, especially to the sick.