(Posted December 14, 2022)
“When angels visit us, we do not hear the rustle of wings, nor feel the feathery touch of the breast of a dove; but we know their presence by the love they create in our hearts.”
– Mary Baker Eddy
It was 10 years ago today that madness sent 26 beloved children and teachers prematurely home to God. It was far earlier than any of us expected; we were and are a community rocked to its core that our national obsession with firearms had arrived at our doors.
There was no way to process the idea that our smallest, most innocent little ones were not safe, even in the care of their schools and teachers. Among the dead was one of First Congregational Church’s own – Lauren Rousseau, baptized here and raised here during her formative years, long before she became a teacher at Sandy Hook.
The Sandy Hook Angels
The images I have from conducting her funeral will never leave me. But there’s another image that floods my mind on this day. Angels. All along the highway in Newtown and elsewhere, 26 wooden angels popped up just days after the massacre.
These angels were a way for people to cope with their unspoken grief, just as the thousands of stuffed animals sent to Newtown that filled multiple tractor trailers. They were a way for people who felt powerless to do something to express love. Angels took up residence on our own church Christmas trees. I am convinced that angels whispered in the ears of all those churches and individuals that sent us heartfelt notes when they learned of Lauren’s funeral service at our church.
The Angel’s Nature
You see, angels are messengers, tasked with creating and planting understanding and good in the pockmarks of evil we encounter on this planet. Theologians traditionally say that angels have never lived as humans in this world. And yet I am sure most of us could swear that someone acting as an angel has stepped into our lives when we needed them the most.
An Angel Companion
This Sunday we’re going to talk about angels, not just because this week’s gospel is the one where an angelic dream stops Joseph from putting away Mary for her sudden out-of-wedlock pregnancy. We’re talking angels this week because we need to feel their companionship right now. One might even say we need to be “touched by an angel,” guided to help someone who might need the love in our hearts to heal theirs.
Please join us for this last Sunday service before Christmas Eve rolls around on the 24th.