Friday, September 29, 2017

Merry Michaelmas!

Today is Michaelmas, the feast of St. Michael the archangel. Being named Michael I have had many opportunities to think about my namesake and what exactly he means to me.
Above: stained glass window or Christian hair metal album cover?

Most of the descriptions of the name Michael place it as meaning "Who is like God." The first place I saw that used had modified it slightly: "He who is like God." Yikes! That's a very difficult name to bear, being compared to the creator Himself! I am, to be sure, made in God's image (Genesis 1:27) but it's healthier to model oneself after Christ (who had a mortal form) than God himself (who is not mortal).

But what does it mean to state that this archangel is "like God?" That's an extremely high position to place an angel upon, considering they are God's servants & messengers and not at all his equals. Christ alone can claim to being "like God" for he was God. So what's up with this statement?

Recently I've come to hear the definition of Michael is actually a question: "Who is like God?" Which is a rhetorical question as the answer is, "none." The phrase appears in the Bible here and there: "Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?" (Psalm 113:5-6). That, to me, seems to be the true definition of my name - something contemplative, philosophical and revealing of God's nature - rather than the mere flattery with which the name is usually accorded.

Enjoy a Michaelmas carol!

No comments: