The Sword of Michaelmas

In pictures we often see the Archangel Michael depicted with a sword, held high, as if ready to strike, holding the dragon under his feet. A sword always comes with a choice. It is always, in a sense, “double-edged”. In retellings of the ancient myth of King Arthur his legendary sword Excalibur has two engravings, one on each side. The one says: Take me up. The other: Cast me away. Whoever comes into possession of the
sword has to make the choice – to let it rest or to wield it. And if wielding it, what cause to wield it for. This choice is an essential part of our humanity. No deed is done without making that choice. And wielding the sword of our mind we make choices every moment of every day.

In the gospel reading about the heavenly marriage feast that is always read at Michaelmas (Matthew 22, 1-14), we are called upon to attend the marriage between the earthly and the heavenly world. Do we let ourselves be distracted by earthly matters? Do we mistreat the heavenly messengers? Or do we choose differently and follow their call? Do we sneak into the feast hall as we are, unprepared – or do we choose to put on the festive garment and prepare ourselves in honour of the occasion?

What we make of our earth, how we connect it and our lives to the heavens is made up of our choices. And guarding over these choices, holding the sword, stand Michael, the countenance of Christ. He is willing to support us and work with us in our choices and deeds on earth. He will look with us toward the future that we make.

Contemplation by Rev. Inken Contreras