The Angel of Communication in this picture is known to us as the angel Gabriel. He is seen here giving the famous news to Mary that she is to become the mother of Jesus. Gabriel is on his knees before Mary for several reasons. Most of us, if we were to see an angel, would be either scared or stunned. Gabriel wants Maryís full attention, not to turn her into a statue, so he is on his knees in a posture of supplication. He is also on his knees because he is speaking with the person whom we know as Mother Mary, the most blessed of all women according to those who love her.
If you look at Gabriel from Mary's perspective, you will find that he is bringing an unwelcome message: that she is to bear a child out of wedlock. In Mary's day, that was a death sentence because they stoned women who were caught in adultery, and adultery was proven when there was no lawful husband to father the child. If they had let her live, Mary would have been a social outcast, shunned by her people and her family. So Gabriel's message was frightening indeed to say nothing of the responsibility of raising the Son of God.
Through the window in the room where Mary stands, you will see what appears to be a star outside. Perhaps Mary had been gazing at that star and wondering what life is all about before Gabriel appeared. The star represents the Holy Spirit, God's nurturing comforter. The light of the Holy Spirit is shining on Mary's face as Gabriel talks with her, giving her the courage to let him finish what he is saying to her. Mary's right hand is pointing to her heart as if she is saying, "Who, me?" That is the very thing I would do if an angel were to come and tell me that I had a very special job to do for God here on earth.
Gabrielís wings are still unfolded, as if he has just landed. Perhaps they remain open as a sign that he can leave in the fraction of a second. Many of the messengers of God come only once and for only so long as it takes to deliver the message. With his left hand, Gabriel nervously twists the fabric of his cloak, showing that his mission is indeed an important one. With his right hand, Gabriel lifts the essence of his message towards Mary's heart. Gabriel's haircut looks like Prince Valiantís, the knight and prince who was at Arthur's court. Prince Valiant was an example of chivalry, the laws of the knight who honored God above all and loved pure and chaste from afar. Many angels are shown with flowing hair and decorated clothing, but Gabriel comes in simplicity and openness.
Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
This verse is Malachi's prophecy of the coming of Christ in a later time. Christ, like an angel, is a messenger from the Lord. The message Christ brought to us was about Godís covenant, Godís promise to love us as his children. This promise brings relief from all the cares of the world, which is why it is our delight.
What is Christís personal message to you? Do you feel that God has made you a promise? (It is true we make many to him, and many of those we fail to keep.) Exactly what is that promise? What are you doing to live according to that promise? How do you rely on it? Is that promise just for you or does it apply to others as well? Have you told anyone else about Godís promises?
Revelations 22:16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
The Angel of Communication asks us exactly who is the angel that Jesus has sent to tell his revelation in the churches? The word, angel, simply means messenger. The word, apostle, is similar in meaning. Both words refer to someone entrusted with a message to give to other people.
We have assumed that angels are just spirit beings who do not live here in physical bodies like us. Could it be that there are angels here on earth? Has anyone ever helped you out of a difficult situation when you thought there was no solution possible? Have you been able to help someone in that way yourself? Could it be that we too are angels, Godís messengers, if only temporarily from time to time?
Psalms 17:6 I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech.
Every communication needs at least two participants for there to be an exchange of information. One must be doing the talking or sending, and the other the listening and receiving. For the communication to be two-way, these two functions must be exchanged between the people participating. The Angel of Communication asks if you give God the time and opportunity to do the sending during your prayer time. Do you say your prayers and then wait in silence? Do you listen attentively at times during the day, to what others have to say, to the wind, to the birds, or to your feelings so that he might give you an answer? As God is doing in this verse from David, take time to incline your ear and hear him speak.
Luke 12:8 Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:
Sometimes ideas and information are communicated in a chain reaction, like a relay race, with different people taking part in the communication along the way. In this verse, Christ is asking us to tell other people about him. In return, he promises to tell God about us. This may not seem to be important until you get a picture of what Satanís job is. Satan means adversary. He is like the prosecuting attorney in a court of law, and his job is to expose all of our bad thoughts, words, and deeds. Satan is our accuser. Jesus, on the other hand, is promising to be our defense attorney, telling God that we have done our part for his kingdom here on earth.
Have you taken time to tell others about Jesus? It does not have to be hard sell or great theology. Just tell someone else what you know without doubt to be true of Jesus. Tell them what Jesus means to you and how you feel about him. Do not forget to tell them what knowing Jesus has done for your life. Record their response in your journal. Did that person teach you anything new about God, Jesus, or yourself?
Hebrews 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
If an apostle and an angel are Godís messengers, are not our ministers also messengers of God? Do we not all have a spirit within us, the part of us that is made in the image of our Creator? Do you feel as if you are a minister, whether or not you actually hold a job as the pastor of a church? What is your mission field, your specialty? Which group of Godís children do you have special skills and talents to help receive their inheritance of the kingdom of God? Do you need some training or assistance to help you in this mission? What are your plans to move forward?
Matthew 10:20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
When speaking to someone you really wanted to convince of something, did you say things to them that you did not know or use expressions you do not usually use? This is called the gift of knowledge and the word of wisdom that St. Paul wrote about in the letter to the Corinthians. This is stepping aside to let the Holy Spirit use you as a means of communication to a person or a whole stadium full of people. The message is never trivial. Often it is life saving and comforting. These messages of love from God can mend a broken heart and save a devastated life. Do not be afraid that you will not know what to say in an important situation such as this. Just pray about it ahead of time and let the Holy Spirit speak to you and through you to others.
In your journal, write about one time you felt a higher power speak through you or someone you know in just such a way. What did it feel like to know that God had his hand in your affairs? Did you notice right away, or was it later that it dawned on you that his Holy Spirit had done this?
Luke 1:28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
These are the words Gabriel spoke to Mother Mary at their first meeting. He was polite and brought the news that God had chosen her before filling her in on the details of just what she was chosen to do. If you feel that God has not sent you a messenger to give you the specific details that you need to do your work on earth, exactly what are those instructions that you need?
Write down your questions to God, as if you would write a letter to a good friend or your earthly father. The more specific the question, the more specific the answer is likely to be. Do not be discouraged if you seem to get no answer or a broad answer. Even these are answers. No is an answer (one I used to get frequently when my prayers had selfish motives behind them). Keep a journal of your questions because it can be like the log book of an explorer who is charting new regions of space. You are a pioneer on the frontier of Godís kingdom. Think of these letters as reports to the home office!
As we leave the Angel of Communication, we must remember that communication takes two for anything to happen. There must be give and take, sending and receiving, speaking and listening. Nietzsche concludes that we have to have a common experience to be able to communicate with words at all. That means that we must make God a daily part of our lives in deeper ways than just saying a prayer over breakfast or before you go to bed. Instead, we must experience the presence of God daily to communicate with him. Make sure that your communication with God, whether it is direct or indirect, gives him a chance to speak. When you speak to him, it is with your heart and not just your mind.
To use the same words is not a sufficient guarantee of understanding;
one must use the same words for the same genus of inward experience;
ultimately one must have one's experiences in common.
FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, Beyond Good and Evil
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