One of the most famous artists of all time, Michelangelo, derives his name from the Christian festival of St Michael and All Angels, which is on 29 September.
There is an interesting similarity between the work of an artist, and the function of an angel. Both are capable of being underestimated.
Those of us who are not artists might imagine that their work is all about inspiration and temperament, with a hint that there is something effortless about their achievement.
In fact, artists work with very specific material demands, such as the cost of stone or wood or paint and canvas, over and above their ordinary living costs.
The elements of sheer hard graft, discipline, and perseverance are indispensable to the creation of a work of genius.
In a similar way, we can be tempted to think of angels as whimsical, feathery creatures that belong to a fantasy world more akin to the mischief making faeries of King Oberon in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
But just as artists deal with material things, so also do angels. Michael is depicted as a warrior angel who engages in the battle between good and evil.
Michael is a sign of encouragement in our struggle to resist the things that are materially destructive and to stand up for what is good, true and just.
‘Having hope that things can change’ a talk by Paul Cowley MBE
Petworth churches together is hosting this fascinating evening at St. Mary's Parish Church, Petworth, at 7.30pm on October 14. Paul Cowley's life is extraordinary. At 17 he was behind bars, at age 19 he went into the Army where he rose to become Staff Sergeant. His life was turned around in 1994 at an Alpha Course at HTB and he became involved in running home groups and in ex offender work. He set up Alpha in Prisons and 52 prisons are now running the course. He is now the Bishops' Advisor for Prisons and Penal Affairs in the London Diocese.
As we approach the end of September and the meeting of October, many churches across Sussex will be preparing for their annual harvest festival. This is a chance to thank God for his provision and to pray for the many people involved in the agricultural industry. For many, is also a chance to reflect and give towards address of our world that are currently in particular need of material support – this can be through anything from local foodbanks to international development agencies. Look out for this seasonal service at a church near you.