September 29 is the day set aside to commemorate Michael and All Angels. There are appointed verses for this commemoration. We will use the appointed gospel lesson for the focus of our meditation for this week.
17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!" 18 He said to them, "I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. 19 See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."
Jesus has sent out 35 pairs of people to places where he is intending to go. He gives them clear instructions on how they are to go about offering peace, receiving hospitality and doing ministry. He gives clear instruction about what to do when people reject the message and the messengers as well. They go out and do the bidding of the Lord. Our gospel lesson picks up upon their return.
The disciples are excited that through the ministry done in Jesus' name even the demons submit. Jesus doesn't correct or deny this. He says that he, himself, saw Satan fall from heaven. Jesus tells the disciples that he has given them authority to tread on snakes and scorpions (maybe a reference back to Genesis 3:15). Beyond that Jesus has given them authority over all the powers of the enemy. He promises that nothing will hurt them.
The focus, however, isn't on what miraculous or spiritual things are being done. Jesus says the point of celebration is that their names are written in heaven.
All of us may do great things. All of us may accomplish what to others seem impossible. As we operate through the gifts and empowerings of the Holy Spirit the sky is the limit as to what might occur through us. Jesus suggests that we pay that no mind in comparison with the celebration that our names are in heaven. God has chosen us. God has been at work in our baptism. God has entered our names into heaven. The rest is details. In some great measure the details are of small importance. God will do what God will do through us but the most important thing is what God has already done on the cross for us.
God, we so quickly get drawn into realms of power and accomplishment and notoriety. Jesus came to defeat the powers of this world and those of Satan. Jesus accomplished on the cross so much more than merely dying the death of a condemned criminal. Jesus stooped from being the creator of the universe to a battered and tattered creature and so elevated us all. Help us rejoice that through these acts of service and faith Jesus has indelibly inscribed our names into heaven. Amen.