Not just scary, pee your pants scary #LukeActs2014

… and they were terrified. (Luke 2:9, NIV)

American pop culture has been lying to you. Angels are terrifying, pee your pants scary. They are not bumbling, lovable Clarence from It’s a Wonderful Life. Not in this story.

It is not that they are doing anything scary. Quite the opposite. It is just that they show up.

I wonder if this is why we work so hard not to see them. I wonder if we work so hard in our culture to cultivate a blindness to God and miracles and angels because they scare the crap out of us. The very idea that God is watching us right now and cares a great deal about what we do is unsettling. An angel walking into our living room would wreck pretty much everything we use to get through the day.

For most of us, most of the time, the world only works if God leaves us to mind our own business. He can show up on our schedule, like the maid, but we do not expect angels popping out of the air when we are hanging out with the other shepherds on a quiet night. In fact, we’d just as soon not have to deal with the problem.

Angels announce a reality that we talk about but, much of the time, would prefer not to encounter. We tend to live like the famous line from Augustine: Make me holy, but not yet. Angels break through our self-imposed blindness and self-serving ignorance. They say, “Hey! God is real, and he wants to tell you — yes, you — something.”

When God shows up, you pretty much have to pay attention. And you lose the ability to ignore certain things. You can’t ignore what the prophets say about judgment and wrath. You can’t ignore what Jesus said about millstones or lopped of limbs. You can’t ignore the wailing and gnashing of teeth. This is mostly good news if you are a poor, outcast shepherd shivering under the stars. It is not so good if you are comfortable and fat. So, if we think about it clearly, we find angels terrifying rather than comforting.


4 thoughts on “Not just scary, pee your pants scary #LukeActs2014

    1. I don’t have too much experience with angels, and I am irritated when people make the weird claim that someone who died is now an angel in Heaven. However, I became convinced that angels are real by Billy Graham’s book “Angels”. He simply says that the Bible affirms that they are real, so he does too.

      About 12 years ago, when I was serving as the pastor of a small church in central Florida, my church youth director’s family was in an automobile accident. His 9 year old daughter was injured and hospitalized. However, they told a story of angels that was interesting. For years, little Lacey had prayed that God’s angels would “watch under me” each night. They told her that she SHOULD say, “watch OVER me”, but she persisted. During the accident, Lacey was thrown out of the car, but her life was saved because the car bounced over her as it rolled. The family was convinced that Lacey’s angel was watching under her that day…

      I don’t know if that story is true. But I DO believe angels are real, and (to quote the bard) “There are more things in heaven and on earth, Horatio (or John) than are dreamt of in your (or my) philosophy.”

  1. Angels “reveal” that we live in a multidimensional creation. Space is not a single flat plane. We tend to feel “safe” when the boundaries around us are secure. I prefer walking through a dark house secure that nothing will touch me from another dimension. However, ultimately I pray for the “sudden appearance” of God’s kingdom in our midst. I want the heavens to open unexpectedly, “like a thief in the night,” revealing Jesus Christ to all in his glory.

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