Mark tells us that during Jesus’ time in the wilderness, “angels waited on him.”
This is not the first time the Bible speaks of angels in the wilderness. Angels lead Israel on its Exodus journey. (Ex. 14:19; 23:20; 23;32:34; 33:2.) Angels give Elijah hope and food (1 Kings 19:5-7.)
Angels appear later in Mark’s gospel, in connection with the end times. And so angels point us both to what God has done in the past and to what God will do in the future. In other words, angel-talk gives witness to a faithful God who is leading us toward a better world. We Christians sometimes forget this future dimension of God; we think we need to return to a previous golden age to live safely and securely. But the Bible talks about new things, not a restoration of the past. Our purpose as followers of Christ is not to make things as they once were, but to envision and enact a world that is in keeping with Jesus’ values of compassion and welcome.
God of our past and of our future: Thank you for the angels, signs of your protecting grace. Align us with what you are doing through them; lead us to new adventures of sharing your shalom with the world. We ask this in your Son’s name, and through the life-giving power of his Spirit. Amen.