Some of the other angels and I were talking the other day (it seems like a thousand years ago), and we were all blown away by how you get your will accomplished in the Church. So we wanted to write you this letter and let you know how amazing it has been to watch.
I thought it was awesome when you spoke light into existence without sun or stars. And when you separated the sea and dry land on the third day. And when you created the birds and fish from the seas, and the land animals out of dry ground.
We all saw when you fashioned the body of Adam out the earth and breathed life into him. Such a wonder, a man made in your own image! We listened intently as you gave mankind dominion over the whole earth and everything in it. Everything you made was so very good, but it lasted such a short time.
We watched as you planted the trees in Eden and gave instruction to the man, that he could freely eat of all the trees in that garden, all but one. We heard you warn him of that tree which was next to the Tree of Life, not to eat of it.
Then your enemy the devil came, (so proudly he came, his pride is his shame!) and with cunning deception he tempted the woman. She fell to his lies and disregarded your holy word! She ate of that tree, and her husband ate with her. We knew at that moment that they were as good as dead.
Can a man deny God and live?
We saw your gentleness as the man and his wife tried to hide themselves and you sought them out. We wondered for a moment as you talked with them, but then we understood immediately, the judgment must begin with that old serpent, the devil.
You pronounced your judgment upon him, everlasting destruction, a curse that would not be lifted. But oh, how that destruction would come to pass: the descendant of the woman would be his end! Yet how could it be, when they must surely die?
We held our breath, as the humans say, while you drove out the man and his wife. They left the garden in coats of skins, a reminder of their bloodguiltiness, but also of your mercy. One of our number took his station guarding the way of the Tree of Life. A deep sadness, seemed to fall over all that your hands had made. The man and his wife, jewels of your creation, would now live a short time in toil and misery, and then perish. It was as if the very earth and sky groaned in pain, and we groaned with them! What once was so beautiful now was truly lost.
You know how eagerly we awaited the development of your plan. You know how every ear leaned in to hear each word you spoke to the race of Adam. Such forgetful creatures! But we kept every word close by. And I, Lord, no less than the rest, pondered what you said.
It seemed so fantastic, (and not less so having seen much of it fulfilled!) that you would yet fulfill your will in man, this dead race. Once you asked the prophet, “Son of man, can these bones live?” and he wisely answered that you alone know. We too saw the task that your eye had fallen upon, and we wondered.
That a donkey would speak your words, we do not marvel, although men might. We know how everything in heaven and earth is bound to your word. The physical world itself is held together by the power of your voice! If you speak it, it must be so.
But this very knowledge makes the dream so much more a marvel! Can these bones live again, the man who rebels constantly at your voice? He seems only to do what is righteous while he forgets that it is your will, and as soon as he recalls it, he rebels even more. Is there a word of kindness or of truth that he has not spurned? How can this live, the only one of your creatures that dares ignore your voice? (Not forgetting also those among my brethren who have followed the serpent in his ways. Their destruction comes swiftly and does not tarry.)
If heaven and earth obey your voice, how shall that man live who denies it?
But then came your son, born of a virgin, to redeem mankind. The prophesies we had eagerly heard and noted, those prophesies that thrilled all the heavenly host did not do him justice. It was as if the sun had never risen at all before it rose upon him.
Never a man spake like this man, nor did any angel. Even I, who thundered your voice from Sinai, and smote the men of Sodom with blindness never spoke with such glory as this one, this man, the only begotten of the Almighty!
How did they not all rush to his feet to hear him? How was it possible that Israel did not gather themselves in repentance at his word, your word?
But they did gather, they and all the peoples of the earth gathered against your Christ. As if with one accord, and in agreement with all the prior generations of wicked men, your chosen people and the nations of the earth gathered to destroy your son.
It is not fit to speak of what revelry and shameful gloating we (and you!) endured from the wicked one and his cohort. Your son is so much like you! He endured every gibe and insult, the shame of all the world, unjustly poured out upon him. How does such confidence reside in a frame of flesh? How have you placed such strength in the son of man?
And on the third day, he rose, as we knew he would. With joy like a child I watched as the news of him spread among those he loved. The women were the first to know of your faithfulness, how you raised their lord out of death. I laughed when Mary thought he was the gardener. My heart sang as Peter raced toward the tomb.After our Lord Jesus was received into heaven, the news spread faster than Peter could run. The saints carried the good news everywhere. We angels watched as one by one they were filled with confidence and faith by the message of what you did in Christ. We saw them take shape, as if they were a new race of men upon the earth. And each one destined to be like your son.
How can these dry bones live? Now we see, it is by trusting in the message of Jesus. You, Lord, have provided yourself a sacrifice. Mercy and justice both are satisfied in the cross. And we, your servants, God, are more than satisfied, as we behold you wisdom demonstrated in the Church.
It certainly is not their wisdom we see, because their folly is all too clear. But we see your wisdom, as you lead them. How wise you were to base their redemption on the cross of Christ. It is a message so simple, that even a fool can clearly comprehend it. Oh that all men were fools for following him!
But all is not smooth in the progress of the Church, this much we have seen. They trust in princes, forget your words, and squabble among themselves. The wise among them add contrivances to the gospel, as though your work could be improved upon! But even these sins are covered by the blood of the lamb. Here then is your wisdom.
All the power of Hell has not prevailed against the lord’s Church. These dry bones live in spite of their dryness. The son of man has caused rivers of water to break forth from their midst. As if a spring appeared in the desert, or as if a light suddenly shined in a dark place, these dead men seek refuge in Christ and find it! Their simplicity is to your glory, their weakness shows your strength. When they trust in Christ, it is as if your son himself is upon the earth again. Your enemies know the fearsomeness of the Church at rest in Christ!
If your enemies had possessed one tenth of your wisdom they would have saved Christ alive from the cross. They would have suffered him to live. But now they have fulfilled your plan. Irony or ironies! Their cruelty has brought your mercy to untold millions of the race of Adam. Now the serpent and his band know their own doom. Whatever confidence they foolishly had is gone.
And so Lord God, we your humble servants, stand in awe of your justice, your mercy and your wisdom. We see now how you are bringing all your purposes together in Christ. And we continue to watch your unfolding masterpiece, the symphony of salvation, as new glories are revealed day by day.
Look there’s another one!