September 29 is the date on the church’s calendar where it celebrates the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels. This year, September 29 happens to fall on a Sunday, so we will join in that celebration next Sunday. Michael is one of the archangels, along with Gabriel and Raphael, that are referenced each week in our liturgy as we sing with “angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven.” St. Michael is referenced first in the book of Daniel as being in battle against Satan and the fallen angels, thus protecting God’s people. As we will sing next week in “Christ, the Lord of Hosts, Unshaken” (LSB 521):
“Michael fought the heavenly battle,
Godly angels by his side;
Warred against the ancient serpent,
Foiled the beast, so full of pride,
Cast him earth-bound with his angels;
Now he prowls, unsatisfied.
In addition to St. Michael, we also remember how God provides his angels to care for his people. Rev. William Weedon writes the following about angels in his book Celebrating the Saints: “An angel announces the impending birth of Christ to Mary in person and to Joseph in a dream. An angel announces the birth of Christ as good news of great joy to the shepherds. Angels sing glory to God and peace on earth on Christmas night. Angels direct Joseph’s trip to Egypt and back. Out Lord teaches that the angels who serve the little ones constantly behold the Father’s face in heaven. Angels are present at our Lord’s Passion in Gethsemane. They minister to Jesus after his temptation in the wilderness. They announce His resurrection on Easter morning. They speak to the disciples at the Ascension. They free Peter from prison. They speak to Paul. They long to look into the mysteries that are revealed now through the Church’s proclamation. We gather with them when we worship.” So our hymn concludes with the following stanza:
“Jesus, send Your angel legions
When the foe would us enslave.
Hold us fast when sin assaults us;
Come, then, Lord, Your people save.
Overthrow at last the dragon;
Send him to his fiery grave.”
Dr. Jeffrey Blersch is Director of Music at Pacific Hills Lutheran Church in Omaha Nebraska
Jeffrey Blersch is Professor of Music at Concordia University, Nebraska, where he teaches organ, music theory, and is the conductor of the Cantamus Women’s Choir. Blersch is a graduate of the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music where he received degrees in organ performance and music education, and of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he earned the Doctor of Musical Arts in Organ Performance.