~ ITEM: Recording Angel
~ ITEM: Wiki– Book of Life
~ ONE HEALTHY but increasingly discarded idea is that of the Recording Angel. From the Book Of Revelation:
Revelation 20:12-13 King James Version (KJV)
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
Books.. judged.. according to all our works. Hence, the Recording Angel, writing everything down: impartial, accurate, “Just the facts, Ma’am.” Forget Santa, and being good for a couple of weeks, kids.
Who We Are
People have always been a mix of good and evil. However, if the idea of God’s judgement, his awareness of all things, that God, “unto who all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid” (Anglican Prayer Book) holds us accountable– yuck. Says Jean-Paul Sartre (who died a Christian) of himself as a child:
I had been playing with matches and burned a small rug. I was in the process of covering up my crime when suddenly God saw me. I felt His gaze inside my head and on my hands….I flew into a rage against so crude an indiscretion, I blasphemed….He never looked at me again….I had the more difficulty getting rid of Him the Holy Ghost in that He had installed Himself at the back of my head….I collared the Holy Ghost in the cellar and threw Him out.
-Jean-Paul Sartre, The Words (New York: George Braziller, 1964), 102, 252-253.
“Getting rid” of God (hiding from him) makes us the measure of all things, or whatever we hold important. Goodness or badness becomes what society approves, what you can get away with, cover up, or conveniently forget. Much of the corruption, depravity, greed, and boring overemphasis on sex comes from imagining there are no limits, that anything is permissible, that selling and consuming is the pinnacle of human existence, that making people into besmirched appetites is the goal of a society.
The Mess We Make
As we look around the headlines, we see some rich men getting rich by lies and sneakery; judges corrupting justice; priests forgetting God; evil people doing horrible things, yet too often only softly punished by the courts; conspiracy, monopoly, schemes and lies by the greatest and the least. Will the ever be held accountable for their deeds? Does evil, injustice, exploitation have the final word, or does God?
God does, if the Christian God and the recoder angel are true and real. Jesus gives a hint about this in what he promises (Matt. 10.36-38):
“So don’t be afraid of your enemies. Everything that is secret will be brought out into the open. Everything that is hidden will be uncovered. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight. What is whispered in your ear, shout from the rooftops. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but can’t kill the soul. Instead, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
How much? “Everything that is hidden will be uncovered.” Not for titillation, gossip, or FaceBook chatter– for judgement. We live every moment in the all-knowing presence of God.
That idea of justice is very powerful, and should scare each of us, and comfort us about evil or powerful people apparently “getting away with it”.
Such a Bible-grounded teaching is of great practical comfort and relevance, even if it makes us feel bad or ashamed or guilty. Ultimate justice will be done, tempered with perfect mercy. If this stings our consciences, then we have things to confess, apologies to make, and life to amend.
Comfort & Cleansing
Too hard on yourself? “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” (1 John 3:20)
Letting things slide, or think that time wipes away sin? “they were judged every man according to their works“.. repent while you have time.
Angry about the secrets, lies, and sneaky badness of people? While we work & fight for right to prevail in our time and place, yet “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened“.. that means everyone, including the one we see in the mirror when we are alone.
Recorder Angel, see me truly; Holy Spirit, convict my heart; Lamb of God, Son of The Father, wash me clean, restore me to the Father’s love.
We can be comforted, for in Christ our Saviour, our judge, our Lord, we can gain a true knowledge of ourselves as redeemed sinners. For after John 3:16, it says: “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”