The Nicene Creed, which we sing at the Eucharist, tells us that God is the Maker of all things, seen (visible) and unseen (invisible). That is to say, he has made everything that you can see, like the sea and the stars, and everything that you cannot see, such as electricity and air.
Now you are both seen and unseen. Your body can be seen but your soul, which is the real you and which lives in your body, cannot be seen.
There are other persons, too, whom God has made but whom we cannot see now. They are the angels and were the first persons that God made. St Paul tells us that all angels are spirits in the service of God (Hebrews 1:14) and we know that the angels are glad when someone is sorry for his or her sins and turns back to God, for Jesus told us, “…there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (NRSV, Luke 15:10).
You’ll remember that the Devil was once an angel. Angels have no bodies as you and I have because they are pure spirits, but they have minds and wills just the same so that they can think and love, and choose to do right instead of wrong.
The chief angels are called archangels. ‘Arch-‘ means ‘chief’, as in the word archbishop or chief bishop. We know the names of some of the archangels e.g. Gabriel, Michael and Raphael.
The angels live in Heaven where they worship God. In the Eucharist the priest sings or says,
“Therefore with angels and archangels,
and with all the company of heaven,
we proclaim your great and glorious name,
for ever praising you…” (1)
Bringing messages from God
Angels also have much to do with us. The word angel means messenger, and one of the things they do is to bring messages from God to human beings. You’ll remember that it was the Archangel Gabriel who was sent by God to Mary to tell her that she was to be the Mother of his Son. Later on, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, it was an angel who brought the news to the shepherds and told them how to find him. As soon as he had given his message, the sky was filled with a great crowd of angels who broke into a hymn of worship, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!” (NRSV, Luke 2:9-14).
Besides worshipping God and bringing messages from him, the angels have also been put in charge of looking after us. Each of us has a Guardian Angel who cares for us and is close to us. Jesus, talking to his disciples about children, said, “…in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven” (NRSV, Matthew 18:10). It is through these Guardian Angels that God looks after us. This does not mean that we shall never have any accidents, but it does mean that we are kept safe more times than we know. And most importantly, our Guardian Angels are there throughout our lives to help us become more and more like Jesus and come at last to Heaven.