This is a piece I wrote for a corps newsletter a few years ago, and it’s also appeared in the OnFire magazine. It’s just sitting wasted on my hard drive right now, so I thought I’d release it to the world!
Once upon a time, about two thousand years ago, the Captains of the Heavenly Host had their morning mission briefing.
Michael got up and said, “Rightio lads, today’s orders have come through. We’re due in that large paddock three miles south of Bethlehem at 2100 hours. Song books are required.”
Sariel put his hand up. “How many are going sir?”
“We’ll be taking the whole garrison,” replied Michael. “Gabriel will be in charge of communications, and Anael will be directing the music.”
Sariel wasn’t sure. “A field in the middle of the night? We’re singing to sheep?”
Michael replied, “Shepherds, actually. There are half a dozen or so who are due to set camp at around 1800 hours, and intel suggests they’ll do a few loads of laundry before turning in.”
Anael looked a little miffed. “The greatest choir in the Universe, wasted on shepherds and sheep. With all due respect sir, has the King got his Throne Rooms mixed up?”
Raphael spoke. “Why is Headquarters so worried about a few dirty farm hands? I mean, we’ve got things to do back here—singing glory to God, tuning our harps, training to fight the enemy. You know, important stuff.”
“That’s right,” said Uriel. “It’s all very nice for the King to sit in His Throne Room with the Seraphim and the Cherubim all day, issuing orders to blokes like us. Why can’t he go for once? Too dangerous?”
Michael paused. “Let me tell you what this is about.”
There was silence.
“The King himself has volunteered for a top priority secret mission Earthside. He’s not worried about the danger. In fact, indications are it’s a suicide job. All he’s asking us to do is tell a couple of people.”
There was more silence. “You mean,” said Uriel, “he’s going… out there?”
“That’s right,” said Michael. “And if we’re going to call ourselves His soldiers we’ll do the same. So who’s coming?”
And the rest, as they say, is history.