Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Angel Gabriel

The word angel means "messenger" in Greek. The Bible says that there are multitudes of these heavenly messengers, but for some reason we only know the names of two: Michael and Gabriel (unless you count Lucifer). Michael is some kind of warrior; Gabriel always acts as a mouthpiece for God.

We don't know too much about angels. Apparently, they are immortal beings. It seems they have some measure of free will. They are not all-powerful, nor are they all-knowing. They must be strange looking -- their first words are usually, "Don't be afraid."

I spent some time this week thinking about Gabriel and his Christmastime mission. Imagine what it must be like -- first of all -- to be called into the council of the Godhead. The Son says, "Hey, Gabriel, it's finally time; I'm going down there. I want you to tell that little girl right there to get ready."

Gabriel says, "But she's a virgin. How's that even possible?"

The Spirit answers, "I'm going to make it possible."

Gabriel looks at the Father, "Is this going to be okay?"

The Father replies, "Yes, it's going to be fine, but it's going to get ugly. Just go tell her."

What must it have been like for Gabriel to watch the events unfold? He didn't know the end from the beginning. He could only watch things happen one step at a time.

One reason I've been thinking about this is because a friend of mine from the past has recently reached out. We haven't seen or heard from each other in more than a decade, but he sent me an email the other day. When I knew him he was Jef (yes, with one f), but now he goes by Gabriel. I had forgotten that was his first name.

Now, Gabriel lives in NYC and runs a theatre company. We have taken two very different paths in life and lead different lifestyles. I have friends who might call him the enemy. I do not believe he is. I do not think he is very much different from me. He is a man trying to figure out life, trying to find happiness, trying to make a mark.

Sounds a lot like me.

Whenever the angel Gabriel showed up in the Bible, he brought a message. Whenever the angel Gabriel approached someone, their life was never the same. He didn't know the end from the beginning, but he knew something the person needed to hear.

I wonder what my angel Gabriel has to say to me.