Last week we discovered that we are called to be on watch for God’s action in our lives and in the world. We are then to Go Tell it on the Mountain like the Christmas song says. Today, we continue with the shepherds’ experience with the announcement of Jesus’ birth.
The carol says, “The shepherds feared and trembled/When lo! above the earth/Rang out the angel chorus/That hailed our Savior's birth.” Sometimes when we are just doing what we do every day, God breaks in. We may not always hear angel choruses, but we can sense the touch of their wings.
There is another song that talks about angels among us. Surely the Presence by Lanny Wolfe reminds us that we can see God’s glory “on each face”. There are times when we feel that “I've touched the hem of God's garment,/I can almost see God's face.”
The words allude to the Gospel story (Mark 5: 25-34) of the woman who had been ill with hemorrhages for years. “If I can but touch the hem of his robe, I will be healed,” she thinks. Indeed when she touches Jesus’ clothing and is healed. Jesus knows that someone has touched him and been made whole even though, as the disciples say, ‘You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, “Who touched me?” ’ Then the woman comes forward in fear and trembling. She is face to face with Jesus who assures her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.’
The shepherds were confronted by the power and love of God announcing Christ’s birth. The woman was face to face with the One who makes whole. Both were changed. The shepherds left their flocks to see what the angels were talking about and the woman returned to her community, healed and no longer unclean and rejected. When we hear the angels and see God's face, we are transformed and are again part of the community.
As the Lanny Wolfe song notes, “In the midst of His children/The Lord said He would be./It doesn't take very many/It can be just two or three./And I feel that same sweet spirit/That I felt oft times before./Surely I can say/I've been with My Lord.” Jesus promised “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” In the group of shepherds, in the crowd of people around Jesus, and in the community that the woman was reunited with, God was present.
In our own gatherings God is there. In the Beloved Community spoken of by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., God is present. With our friends and companions and strangers we can experience the ‘touch of angel wings’ and hear the ‘angel chorus’ proclaiming ‘peace on earth’. Then we can together ‘go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere’.
When have you felt the touch of angel’s wings or heard the whisper of an angelic chorus?