Lent 15 : An alien grace

Angels sometimes happen in the desert. Jesus is comforted by angels after his temptations. But what does that mean? We are used to the imagery of angels having wings and having warm fuzzy feelings and lovely coincidences. Yet in the bible, angels bring out opposite responses; fear (Mark 16: 5), confusion (Luke 2:29) and people falling flat on their faces (Joshua 5:14). So an angel’s comfort must be so completely alien.

C.S. Lewis gives us a picture.

The merest whisper of light – no less than that, the smallest diminution of shadow – was travelling along the uneven surface of the ground-weed; or rather some difference in the look of the ground, too slight to be named in the language of the five senses, moved slowly towards him. Like a silence spreading over a room full of people, like an infinitesimal coolness on a sultry day, like a passing memory of some long-forgotten sound or scent, like all that is stillest and smallest and most hard to seize in nature, Oyarsa passed between his subjects and drew near and came to rest, not ten yards away from Ransom in the centre of Meldilorn. Ransom felt a tingling of his blood and a pricking on his fingers as if lightning were near him; and his heart and body seemed to him to be made of water.

Oyarsa spoke – a more unhuman voice than Ransom had yet heard, sweet and seemingly remote; an unshaken voice; a voice, as one of the hrossa afterwards said to Ransom, ‘with no blood in it. Light is instead of blood for them.’

C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet

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