Sunday, June 9, 2013

City of Angels - Why Would an Angel Want to Be Human?

One of my readings, from the book of Tobias (one of the books of the Apocrypha), describes the Angel Raphael taking on the form of a man, a man recognizable by others  as a member of a particular family. A footnote to the scripture stated the angel personated the man.


Thinking about angels personating men reminded me of the movie, City of Angels. The premise is endearing, but flawed. How romantic to think a heavenly being would be so passionately in love, he would give up his angel status and become human. On more than one occasion Hollywood has implied this world is far better than the next, and all life would choose to be human.


On one hand, yes, we do live in a beautiful world filled with many pleasures, but none of them can compare with heaven, and that is where the flaw lies. We Christians as well believe the only happy ending is one where the story ends with the granting of a longer life here in this world. If we truly believed we are not of this world, why would we think that was the happy ending?

St. Paul stated heaven was beyond description, something so wonderful he ran toward it, literally ran toward his death. Not suicidal, mind you, but he had absolutely no fear of death. I for one worry a little about the means of my death since I have a tendency to avoid pain whenever possible, but as far as death itself? No, not after my experience on that Palm Sunday described in my earlier post, The Divine Embrace , and other experiences that gave me tiny glimpses of what waits for us. Nothing on this earth compares, nothing. So why do we cling to this life with such tenacity?

We all have a reason, a purpose for being on this earth, a task God wants us to accomplish. Why we must do this here, in human form, is the subject of much theological debate, and is way above my intelligence. God said it must be done this way, so be it. It is what comes next that so intrigues me. We get hints and glimpses from scripture, from those who have had life/death experiences and had enough courage to share them.They all say they did not want to come back to this world. So, why do we run from it?

In our currently troubled world, many Christians are praying for the Second Coming. Yes, that would be the answer to all our prayers and hopes to see the mass rising of Christ's Church as one body, but we will all have a personal Second Coming at the moment of our death, and yet we go to huge extremes to avoid it. I do not have suicidal thoughts, so don't misconstrue what I am saying. I want to fulfill my life's plan, well God's plan for my life, and leave this world in His timing, not mine, and that is the whole point. When that time does come, I want to embrace it and not run from it, scrabbling with every means available to cling to this world.

Even so, this is a complicated issue. We want to alleviate suffering where and how we can. The manner of death is and should be a concern. Scripture has many illustrations of God saving his children from horrible deaths, not all certainly, but many. I pray daily for the alleviation of suffering, for the protection of those that need it, keeping in mind that passing into the next life is not a death sentence. It is only a passage from the temporal to the spiritual. Yet  we still mourn not only the loss of our loved ones because we miss their presence, but we also mourn their loss of this world. Is it just me, or does that seem to be a bit incongruous considering our Christian beliefs?

The words of St. Paul, written while facing his own death, are haunting. In essence, he counted all things as a loss except for sharing in Christ's resurrection. I want that kind of faith, that kind of confidence. As God has said over and over, "Ask and you shall receive". Well, I'm asking. How about you?

photo credit: AlicePopkorn via photopin cc

4 comments:

  1. I get this...and so relate. Great post. I too want that type of faith and walk with the Lord...counting all things as loss.

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  2. Your post inspire me to live with more abandon for Christ...and Paul's faith always inspires me! I like the idea that we all have a Second Coming at our death. Great post...will share!

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  3. Thank you, Judith. I too pray for the grace to live with more abandon for Christ. (Love that phrase!)

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