Oh, come now. Is this really necessary? All of you? Did Michael really need so many guards? I won’t try anything rash, you can put down your swords. No? Fine, have it your way. But you have no idea what it’s like down there. You who get to shut yourselves up in the throne room. You have no ide– What’s that noise? Someone’s crying. It’s Him, isn’t it? It’s the King.
I can’t stand this. Can you blame me for doing what I did? You would have done the same thing if you had my history. I saw the Prince in all his glory. In all of his magnificent power. You remember when the sea parted with his breath? I was there. I saw him, and he barely breathed on the water. Only a tiny puff to spare his children, and another to destroy the greatest army of men that ever was.
I was there! I saw it. Now how can you expect me to just stand by and watch while this madness is happening?
I also fought alongside Him. Something you’ve never done.
Do you remember the prophet on the mountain? Elijah? I was there. It was my proudest moment. The chosen people were covering the mountain to watch the battle: Single combat between the King of Heaven, and the Pretender himself, fighting that day under the name of Ba’al. His prophets were there, too. Hundreds of them. Their souls were haunted by… by the same dark roaches that are swarming around the hill below us right now.
They tried to get the Pretender to act. Tried to get his attention with screams and chants. The beasts inside them panicked when he did not answer. That’s when they descended into orgies, and started swinging their swords at one another, pouring out their lust and blood to impress him. To compel him to light their altar. But he did not answer. We would not let him answer.
Elijah taunted them. He could see us, I think. And when he had enough, he said it was his turn. He prepared his own sacrifice in a strange way, drenching the animal and the wood with water. Then the nation held its breath as he uttered his short, quiet prayer. To us, it was not quiet. It struck heaven like thunder.-
I looked up into the Prince’s face, and He said, “Do it.”
In one motion, I unsheathed my sword and stabbed upward into the floor of heaven. Down fell a flaming coal from the altar in the throne room. It burned across the sky like a second sun and exploded on Elijah’s sacrifice. The sky reverberated with applause. The Prince leaned in close to me and whispered, “It was a fine cut. You have excellent aim!”
So you can see I have reason to do what I did!
There were so many other times. We made seas stand up, shadows bend backwards… We fought battles and protected his chosen men with invisible shields. All at his direction. All for the purpose of bringing His Kingdom–Our Kingdom–to the world of men.
I never understood that He meant to come and do it personally until almost a thousand years later, when Michael took me down to earth to watch the birth of a human boy in an animal’s stable. When he came out, he screamed like all children scream, and he was covered in the blood and fluids of his mother’s womb.
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord!” Michael whispered. He told me, “We must watch him. From this night on, we must protect Him.”
This made no sense to me. I’d seen him breathe hurricanes and hold suns in his fingers. What harm could ever come to him? But soon, I understood the truth: our beloved warrior Prince had not brought his celestial power with him.
So we did as we were told. We watched him. We watched as He learned to walk, to speak, to study. To understand His identity and His calling.We even eavesdropped on his prayers to His Father.
As he grew older and closer to the King, He began to look more and more like Himself. He created things just like he used to, only now it was tables and chairs instead of mountains and horses. And the kindness in his eyes, the joy that filled Him… I recognized this, and it warmed me.
One day he came to a river to be baptized–to be cleansed of his rebellion against the King–even though we all knew full well that He had never rebelled. Everything the King had ever asked Him to do, both directly and in his scrolls, He had done. And yet He went under the waters of baptism like a common sinner. And when He did, the King yelled down in a voice that men and angels understood: “This is my Son, and I am proud of Him!”
That was for us. I’m certain of it. And His implication was clear: “This man, this Prince, this Jesus, is My son. So give him whatever he asks for. Whatever He needs.”
That’s what I’ve been doing. Giving Him whatever He needs. When He prayed for strength, I touched his muscles and made them strong. When He wanted to feed a large crowd with a boy’s meager meal, I obeyed, filling baskets with bread and fish. That’s what we’ve all been doing! Listening to the words spoken between him and His Father. Answering prayers. Healing diseases. Giving Him whatever He asks for. He has the full backing of all of heaven at His disposal!
Don’t you see? He needed us. That’s the insane truth. He chose to need us. And right now He needs us more than ever. He needs me!
I beg you all, listen to me. It’s not too late. I know you can’t see, because the King has shut the windows, but it’s true. The shadowy beasts are covering the hills like I’ve never seen. Thousands, maybe millions of them in sinister exaltation. And they have him. Don’t you realize? They have him. And they are pulling the invisible strings over the Roman soldiers, who beat him senselessly. They have His arms and feet nailed to a tree. He is bleeding. Right now, as you listen to me babble on, the Prince’s life is draining from Him. He is crying out in agony. I know you can’t hear it, because the little beasts have blanketed the sound. But I could see his face, contorted in muffled screams.
We were ready to move in. They are still ready as we speak. But Michael warned us sternly, “Nobody move unless He calls.”
I kept waiting for His call. We were ready to attack. All of Michael’s officers and all of our battalions, arrayed in attack formation above the enemy’s hill. Billions to their millions. Strong. Full of light and unspeakable power. But there was no call.
I begged, “Michael, do something.” But his face was like stone. He would not give the order. He would not reach for his weapon.
So I reached for mine.
I unsheathed my sword of fire and hurled myself downward. Directly toward the hill. Into the heart of the hideous crawling mass that swarmed around Him. I screamed: “Long live the Prince!” The roaches froze, bracing themselves for my blow. And suddenly, a mighty force seized my ankles. My wings snapped forward so hard I thought they would break. I knew it had to be Michael. No one else had the strength to stop me so suddenly. A million gasps let out above me. I hung less than a tree’s length over my rabid enemies. I didn’t even hear their taunts, because I was close enough to see the face of my Prince. His eyes were fading, but He met my gaze still. All I could think of were His words: “You have excellent aim.”
I wanted to tell him I was sorry. Sorry for not protecting Him, and for disobeying orders, but Michael yanked me up into the clouds–up into this room–before I had a chance. I will be reprimanded, I know. Probably demoted, as I should be.
But how could I stay still? That’s not just any prince down there. He’s my Prince. And all of this that’s happening? It is not part of the plan. It’s can’t be.
Or could it–
Wait, what’s happening? The King is opening the windows. There! Do you see? There He is! He’s spent. Save Him, Michael. Go down and save Him.
No, we have not forsaken you, Prince! Call us now before it’s too late! Why don’t you call us?
Why didn’t you call us?
Jesus said He had more than twelve legions of angels at His disposal (Mt 26:53). That verse inspired this piece, which I wrote for our church’s Good Friday vigil. My friend Joshua Guth performed it beautifully, despite having little time to memorize it. I plan to write another version as a short story eventually, but I thought some of you might appreciate it in its present form.