An Angel’s View
by Madison Rohn
I have yet to understand humans. Indecisive. Skeptical. Breakable. Often afraid. Their worries drown out any memories of past promises, fatally forgetful. But I do not forget anything. If any one of these beings beheld the glory I have seen, they would certainly fall back in awe. What I am witnessing now, however, stuns the very core of me.
I stand in front of a dying man, condemned by his people for a crime he did not commit. His execution draws masses of onlookers, including me. I never want to consider myself simply a bystander; I take my role as a protector very seriously. Yet, my orders for this darkened day are not to protect, not to fight, not to sing praises, but simply to watch.
The humans know nothing of my presence. Surely seeing my concealed companions and I would reveal to them the gravity of the situation or at least stop some of the mockery. But the loudest of the crowd continues their insults as the innocent man’s breaths grow more labored. I mentioned humans are forgetful. Well, this man spent his days healing the sick and conversing with outcasts. Who remembers that now as he is taunted by frenzied mobs? But I cannot forget. With one swoop of my wings, I wish to show these earthly beings the truth they have forgotten: this is not merely a man broken in front of them, but a king, my King … and theirs.
However, here is my King publicly displayed as a warning sign for any who dare defy the conquering empire. Usually, time does not matter to me, but the hours of this whole day have passed excruciatingly slow compared to the timeline of eternity. Watching – something humans do so passively – has been my hardest assignment yet. How am I expected to stand by and let my Lord, the very One I was created to serve, be killed right in front of my eyes? It takes every fiber in my being to restrain myself from bursting into action. I yearn to clothe his bare torso in a robe of light, like the splendor he wore on his heavenly throne room. But today, he is only crowned in piercing thorns. His hands, hands that I saw create the planets, are now pinned to coarse wood and held in place by thick nails in his wrists. His feet, which used to walk on top of surging waves, are treated the same way. By saying a word, he could heal any wound, but now his ripped skin is decorated with stripes of deep gashes and crimson blood.
I wonder if my Lord can see me from his uplifted position. When he looks down upon the crowd with his weary eyes, can he tell that a host of angels is among them? Or does the burden of many millennia of sin veil his vision from any sign of holiness? Perhaps all he sees are the mixture of scowling, weeping, and indifferent faces. He tilts his head up to the overhanging sky of black clouds and cuts through the cacophony with a cry of utter despair, citing an old Psalm of forsakenness.
Why can I not help him? Why will he not give me any orders? If he just says a word, I would unsheathe my glowing sword and rush to his aide. My companions and I assisted him before on this earth. We declared his birth along the countryside, we tended to him after he resisted the evil one’s temptations in the desert, and last night I gave him encouragement while he waited in the garden for his betrayer. But at this hour, he says nothing to his heavenly servants. Instead, with a voice trembling in agony, he forgives his executioners.
I still do not understand it. I know this is all part of my King’s plan to save humanity from the clutches of sin. But … why? Why for these creatures who disobey, who coward, who destroy? Why would he cast aside his powers and my help to allow stoic soldiers to treat him like a treasonous criminal? Why would he bleed so easily for the sake of people who spit in his face? Why would he give his life for any human who will likely only speak his name to curse? My King looks down at the crowd once again, and a tear mixes with a streak of blood on his cheek. The soft look on his face says it all. He is not bitter nor regretful like the crucified criminals next to him. Rather, his expression is one of love. The humans are his creation, in his image. He loves them and will sacrifice himself for them as I stand here. Watching.