A Field Guide to Humans: Their Limitations and Glory
By the Archangel Michael (transcribed by Conrad Gempf)
My fellow angels! How resplendent you all look! Can I just say, I am so grateful to you all for this spectacular turn out … give yourselves a little round of applause. We’ll be going out Christmas caroling soon, and I think those shepherds will really get a little glimpse of what the heavenly host is like and how we can sing. Thank you so much for being here.
Before we head into that tiny puddle that the humans call “The Universe,” I thought it would be good just to remind you of a few of the basics. I want to talk to you about the glory of human beings, but first, we need to touch on practical matters relating to their limitations.
First, I know some of you have visited before, but even the most experienced of us can be taken aback at the alien appearance of the human beings. You need to remind yourselves: they cannot harm you. Remember how limited and inexperienced they are in their present form. They will believe you can hurt them!
So try to fix this in your minds: they are going to be much more afraid of you than you are of them. In one of my visits, I neglected to adjust my appearance and … the poor human! He was beside himself with fear! All he could babble and write about for weeks were wings and eyes and “wheels.” No matter how anxious you are feeling, it’s wise to make it a rule to always start by saying to them (and to yourself), “Do not be afraid.”
Second, it’s right for us to be sensitive about language when we’re in their space/time continuum. These are gendered creatures, who marry and are given in marriage, so remember to use appropriate pronouns. Joseph and Zechariah are he/his; Elizabeth and Mary are she/her; and shepherds and the sheep are they/theirs. Even if they all look alike to us, the Lord sees them as individuals and we should take their individual identity seriously.
Third, remember that these creatures are, for this part of their lives, trapped in only a single dimension of time and only three of the spatial dimensions.
Think of it—only one dimension of time … and they feel like they’re being constantly pushed along it … and in the same direction! In space, they know of breadth and depth as well as length, but of time, all they know is length. So out of all the many features of time and eternity that are natural to us, really the only one that they understand is Sequence—one thing after another. And, only experiencing their reality this way, they honestly believe that cause and effect must be slavishly glued to sequence. So when we or their prophets try to tell them about Jesus’s birth, they think we’re, like, predicting something that hasn’t happened yet, rather than talking about the centerpiece of all causes in their creation and beyond.
You’ll find this hard to believe, but the understanding of the other facets of time are as much a mystery to them as their sense of taste is to us! When you talk to a human being about eternity, you might as well be talking about the scent of lemons to a regular being like us!
And their spatial perception isn’t much better. Just try to think what it would be like if you could only look up & down but not look kata or ana—or if you could only look left & right but not bithersnap & pinglid. When sometimes it seems like they cannot see the truth pinglid the nose on their face, remember that they literally cannot. Often the things we’re talking and singing about will be brand new to them, things that they cannot perceive and will not have seen coming.
But this leads me to the ways that humans are so astoundingly glorious to us.
Are you confident that you would love, believe, and trust like that if you’d never seen the shining glory of God’s presence? — if you couldn’t simply turn 16 of your eyes and behold the LORD? Humans have to more or less blindly trust and believe. Literally every direction that they can turn, all they see with their eyes is dirt, sheep, neutrinos, and Higgs-Boson particles. —Oh, no, come to think of it, at this point in their existence they can’t even see dark matter or dark energy! —But my point is: the poor things are practically blind! And yet they are able to love the Creator that they cannot physically see, and love in ways we can barely imagine.
Mary, for example—bless her! You see her when Gabriel first spoke to her—notice how he remembered to say, “Do not be afraid”? He was in the presence of the Theotokos herself, and yet he remembered that she, too, would be scared. Good work, Gabe.
You see how ephemeral and fragile she is? This is because at this point, Mary is young (even for a human). Can you believe it? Mary is less than a thousand years old at this point. Given her human limitations, she has no memory of anything before she was “born,” only what other humans tell her. And, of course, things ahead of her in her one dimension of time are invisible to her as well … they might as well not exist for all she knows!
So you see how she reacts to Gabriel’s announcement—all of which is new to her. His news is in five stages: 1) you are going to have a child; 2) his name will be Jesus; 3) he will be called son of the Most High; 4) he will get the throne of David; and then 5) he will reign forever with a kingdom that will never end.
Now, when you think about their limitations, you’d imagine that a human like Mary would be most surprised at number 5) reigning forever, never ending. But no. Five stages, and Mary is stuck on number one. 1) There’ll be a baby; 2) his name Jesus; 3) his connection to Most High; 4) his kingship and 5) his eternal reign — and Mary replies to Gabriel, “Wait … I’m going to have a baby??”
But then she adjusts—can you comprehend this? I can’t. Everything a human knows is limited in time and space, so it is understandable that their first thought about anything new is how it fits with them, in their time and space. But humans have these astonishing superpowers of faith and love that enable them to quickly move past limitations which would paralyze us! By the end of that very same conversation, Mary is saying, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”
And then within days—days!—she visited her fellow human Elizabeth, and somehow Mary has understood. HOW??!?!?! “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!” Totally unable to see it with her own eyes, yet she trusts and says, “He has been mindful of the humble state of his servant but from now on all generations will call me blessed.”
HOW does Mary know about that? Gabriel didn’t tell her, and she can’t see it directly. How can a being with such limitations express such insight, such love, such trust? Amazing. These mortals are beyond the comprehension of any merely eternal being like us.
And then Mary is somehow wise enough to link the things going on in her narrow slice of time to the things our Lord has always done, is always doing. Wow.
I know that like me, all of you angels have been memorizing these amazing words from her song: “His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.”
How wonderful to be able to perceive and love the Almighty like this! She has never seen God, yet she paints a clearer picture than you or I.
Remember, Mary is so fragile; and yet she knows the Lord this well. She is handicapped, unable to navigate most of time and space, and yet she knows the Lord’s timeless truths and somehow apprehends God’s timeless character, and loves the Most High with a devotion so pure and total.
And she is not the only one.
How do humans do this? You and I, mere angels, will never know. It’s as if they’re somehow able to fix their limited eyes on things unseen to them. But I’ll tell you this much: we have as much to learn from them as they have to learn from us.
May we all begin to demonstrate that kind of faith, trust, and love, in all of our dealings. But right now, we’ve got some shepherds to wow! Let’s go!