Looking for angles and angels

Anastasia Bartlett attends St. Aidan's Orthodox Church in Cranbrook.

OK, so I’ve heard about this Pokemon Go being the latest thing in gaming. As I understand it, an AR or augmented reality program enables the player to use their phone or AR glasses to view superimposed images of Pokemon characters on the physical reality around them. This gives them two views of “reality”, the one they walk in and the one in which Pokemon can be seen. Wouldn’t it be nice if somebody developed some SR or spiritual reality glasses?

I remember asking a small child once what she was doing as she sat on the floor in the middle of the room screwing up her face and squinting looking all around. She told me, “I’m trying to see the angels.”

Interestingly, the first time I typed that, I misspelled angels and the phrase came out ‘trying to see the angles’; an accidental misspelling conveying truth. The innocent are always trying to see the angels, while most of the rest of us are always looking for the angles. How do we land that job, get around our boss, and make more money for entertainment, food, and fashions. Our society tells us these are the things which will make us happy. And as long as we only live in the physical world, they will, for a time, but not for eternity.

After His baptism, Christ announced “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 3:2) In Luke 17:21, Christ said “the Kingdom of heaven is among you”. Jesus spent a lot of time talking about the Kingdom of Heaven, because restoring the Kingdom was His mission.

Adam and Eve walked in the Kingdom of Heaven prior to the fall. They lost the Kingdom when they chose to experience creation apart from God. The Kingdom crumbled and fell and mankind turned against creation, man turned against man, man against woman, parents against children and, most devastatingly, man against God. Our heart was blinded to God’s Kingdom. Jesus came to restore the Kingdom and our sight.

The Kingdom is not a promise for the future, it is here and now. Within orthodox tradition there are many stories of righteous living saints who’ve had the eyes to see the Kingdom and the angels. Scriptures tell us, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”(Hebrews 13:2)

I know I am way too caught up with the daily struggle of living and moving on to the next thing. I don’t spend enough time in prayer and quiet contemplation, listening for the still small voice of the Holy Spirit and thanking God for His mercy and love.

If only I had those SR glasses. Maybe if I could see the angels and the spiritual consequences of my actions, I would be more inclined to walk the straight and narrow. I don’t have the glasses but 1 Corinthians 13 tells me how to get them.

Jesus was, and is, the embodiment of God’s love for His creation. It is because of love the Kingdom was restored. I can participate in the Kingdom of Heaven only by participating in the life of Christ and I participate in the life of Christ by loving all those around me. As I love others, I love God restoring vision to the eyes of my heart and enabling me to catch glimpses of the Kingdom of Heaven.

The saints have the ability to see the Kingdom of Heaven on this earth. The only difference between them and me is their determination to set aside the things of the world and love God with all their heart, mind and spirit and their neighbours as themselves.

My linear time spent in this world is my opportunity to reclaim my innocence. Instead of focusing on my physical life, trying to maximize my pleasure and discover ways to get ahead by working the angles, I need to stop and look for the angels; the man asking for money, the single mom, my neighbour, any person whom God has placed in front of me.

The Kingdom of Heaven is now, its denizens are among us. We may be entertaining angels unaware. But when we love, we see them all.

Anastasia Bartlett does not play Pokemon Go as she is too busy looking for angels. She attends St. Aidan’s Orthodox Church in Cranbrook.