Sacred Music Sunday: I Saw a Mighty Angel Fly

Angel Moroni atop the Albuquerque temple. Photo credit – Dick Thompson

Most of the hymns I select for this series are general Christian hymns that I love but that aren’t familiar to a wider LDS audience. However, today I’m sharing a very Mormon hymn – I Saw a Mighty Angel Fly. It’s part of what I call the “restoration genre” of hymns – songs that speak uniquely to the restoration of the gospel. This one comes out of the book of Revelation.

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.'”

Revelation 14:6-7

The tune is peppy and upbeat and very catchy. When I was taking the bar exam, this song was stuck in my head the whole time. In many European countries, the tune is used to sing O Little Town of Bethlehem, which gives it a very different feel than the tune used in the US.

The scripture verse in Revelation got me thinking – what is the everlasting gospel? Gospel means “good news”, and given that Moroni is the one doing the preaching of it, I think it’s safe to say that whatever the everlasting gospel is, it’s contained within the Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon is a Christ-filled, grace-filled book. There’s no checklist of righteousness in its pages. It doesn’t prescribe a specific career, family structure, socioeconomic status, language, sex, gender, or anything else. It reminds us that “all are alike unto God”[1], the grace of Christ is sufficient to save us [2], and that when we try to add extraneous requirements to the gospel and call it the gospel, we are placing ourselves in peril. [3]

So the next time I see the statue of Moroni on top of the temple, I’m going to use it as a reminder to get back to the basics of the gospel – the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.

[1] 2 Nephi 26:33
[2] see Moroni 10:32; 2 Nephi 10:24-25,
[3] see 3 Nephi 11:32-40; 3 Nephi 27:13-16

Trudy

Trudy is a lawyer living in the southwestern US. She has two cats who allow her to live in their apartment in exchange for a steady supply of food and treats.

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