MU Devotion Wednesday 30th September 2020

Image is of the St Michael window by John Petts in All Saints Church, Penarth.

MU Devotion Wednesday 30th September 2020

Tuesday the 29th was the feast of St Michael and All Angels. A day we hear the reading from Revelation of how the archangel Michael and his angels threw the devil out of heaven. This passage has provided inspiration for many artists over the past two millennia. Paintings, sculptures, jewellery, books, films and of course stained-glass windows have been used to portray this iconic image. The devil has been imagined in many different guises, some more human, some distinctly reptilian, and many combinations in between.

I wonder how we would like to portray the evil that we feel threatened by today. I am not an artist but have found myself imagining a stained-glass window with St Michael in the form of a white-coated virologist. She stands in full PPE with a loaded syringe and at her feet is the dying coronavirus which causes Covid-19. The virus, so named because its surface spikes resembles a crown, collapsing in on itself with its crown slipping off in defeat. Now I know that viruses do not have the capacity for intent to cause harm in some conscious way. Viruses are just made up of a simple piece of DNA with a protein coat. But the image is quite fun!

Evil does appear to associate with this virus not in the infection itself but in the selfish reactions that it can bring out in people. There has been reports of people using the fear of infection to con people out of money. Some people have gained fame and followers by perpetrating false conspiracy theories which put many lives at risk. Some people just do not feel that the regulations about restricted movement should apply to them and so they ignore them.

St Michael did not triumph using only his own skills. He was able to defeat the devil because he had the power of God on his side. It is through turning to God and asking for wisdom and guidance that we find the strength to overcome the evil that is tempting us at the moment. How we can get those who listen to the voice of evil to stop exploiting the vulnerable, is much harder to envisage. Our main avenue of asking for God’s influence in any given situation is through prayer. Right back in March at the beginning of this crisis, Mothers’ Union provided us with a prayer which contained the plea – We pray for misinformation to be curbed.

A request that is so important, particularly now, when cases are rising, and people are beginning to falter in following regulations which are in place for the good of all. So, as we find ourselves under a series of local lockdowns, we can probably all find the time to pray for the evil of cynicism, deceit and selfishness to be defeated. Asking that God’s love and compassion abounds victorious in all places.

With love and prayers

Revd Sandra