by Eva Knausenberger
There it is again, the Michaelmas Gospel of the royal wedding. Every year it stands before our inner eye and every year we grapple to understand a little bit more of its meaning for us. “The kingdom of God IS like a man, a king ...” (Matt 22).
Should we take Christ’s words as truth: “… the kingdom of God is within you ...” (Luke 17), then we are looking at two images: the macrocosmic as well as the microcosmic reality of ‘the kingdom of God’; in other words, the sense-perceptible and the spiritual imaginative words. The Michaelic message given in Matt 22 requires a reverential approach rather than an interpretive shortcut.
For me, it takes courage to add my thoughts to the multitude of insights already published and spoken in The Christian Community. But it is a worthwhile venture to (hopefully) add a sliver to the puzzle. Why courage? Because if the kingdom of God is within me, it means that every last one of the personalities described are in me waiting to be met.
The Gospel speaks of the divine command: “the wedding feast has been prepared; come to the wedding”, I am sending out my messenger (Mark 1: 2) to let you know that you are invited. And this is no conventional wedding, indeed it has been prepared, one could say through evolutionary eons of time. On the other hand, the story itself could be read like an every-day description of life: being invited to participate in a celebration of life and fruitfulness, but being too busy, too preoccupied with other matters; maltreating, even killing the messengers and in return having the (mental and physical) ground we work, live and love on destroyed, burnt, flooded, etc. Paying the price for lack of foresightfulness, of listening with the heart, so to speak. And when ‘I’ finally heed the call, ‘I’ realise the fetters binding my will to accept that ‘I’ have been called and lack of the proper attire for a wedding.
On the other hand, before any wedding, the question has been asked and affirmed: “Do you love me more than the others?” (John 21: 15) Are you ready to give yourself to me? Will you make your home with me? Is that the wedding gown?
I am not going to pursue those questions here, firstly because I think that all human beings have been endowed with ‘a wedding gown’ at the door between heavenly excarnation and earthly incarnation, also that having a wedding gown means to be a human being; and thirdly because being married is hardly as easy as saying: ‘yes, I will, I love you’.
Instead, I want to consider who is the stern, uncompromising judge -in us-, the one who knows the difference, the one who has the moral authority to “see”, determine and differentiate/judge?
The divine guiding spirit of our age Michael has the spiritual and moral authority. Pictures and statues show him clad in the armour of God (Ephesians 6: 10-18) He also holds the scales. Michaelic attributes are imprinted in us in/on our human conscience; not so much as moral codes, but as guiding gestures to a ‘higher divining’ of the kingdom of God in us. The outstanding attributes of Michael are the same as those in/of our spiritual-moral conscience: first and foremost among these is his unwavering uprightness. He is, -as our conscience is designed to be- the steady fearless centre, (I am) fully conscious of the threat, the instinct-driven fury of the 7-headed dragon under his feet and its power to instil fear, horror, strife and war.
And I think that without Michael’s vision, without his uprightness and courage in us, we will engage in a fight against the dragon, while forgetting the invitation: “… come to the wedding I have prepared for my Son”. In Rev 6: 13 is another image of the wedding gown.
Who is the king, who are all the other actors (for lack of a better word) in me? This passage has, it seems to me, no feelings normally associated with Christ, like mildness, inclusion, empathy, understanding and so forth; on the contrary, ‘the king’ invites the guests and expects attendance.
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