Devotional of the week: Angel wings

Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. Isaiah 6:2

St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City

St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City

Our view of God can swing from one extreme to another. At one end, we might so favor intimacy with him that we speak only of “Jesus as my best friend,” or similar. But at the other end, we might see the triune God as so other that he is distant and not approachable.

In the prophet Isaiah’s vision, the curtain opens and he sees God on his throne. So majestic is he that even just the train of his robe fills the temple. And around him are these seraphim, which are creatures with six wings. As Matthew Henry, the seventeenth-century biblical commentator, says, they are known as “burners,” for they “burn in love to God, and zeal for his glory against sin.” God, who is known as a holy flame elsewhere in the Bible (see for example Hebrews 12:29), is surrounded by creatures who would burn as flames. And even though they have not been marred by sin, they deem themselves unworthy to gaze upon the Lord. These creatures – to whom humans fall in awe – yet bow before God.

I’m grateful that we can run to God as Abba, our Father. Never would I want to relinquish an intimate relationship with him. But neither do I want to lose a sense of reverence and wonder over the hugeness of our God – he who defines holiness.

Prayer: Holy and living God, reveal your holiness to me, that I might cultivate a healthy sense of awe over your wonder and majesty.

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