Why Shouting at the Devil?

Shouting at the Devil at Patronal festival 2009

Shouting at the Devil at Patronal festival 2009

The title of this blog comes from one of my earliest surprises when I moved to Coventry – the Patronal Feast of St Michael.

Celebrated on the Sunday nearest September 29, the feast of Michael and all angels, to mark the patron saint of St Michael’s Cathedral, Coventry. At the end of the service the congregation, lead by the clergy and choir in finest ceremonial dress, process outside to the magnificent Jacob Epstein bronze statue of Michael driving satan from heaven which is on the outside wall at the entrance to the cathedral. There a liturgy is read in which we all ‘shout at the devil’.

I would like to think that in the ministry of reconciliation at the cathedral we are standing against all in our world that distorts and destroys what God intends for creation to flourish. We bear witness to the good news that in Christ God reconciles all things.

The Acclamation of Saint Michael
The president declaims, and everyone replies loudly

War broke out in heaven;
Michael and his angels fought against the dragon!
The dragon with his angels fought back
but they were defeated, and they lost their place in heaven!

I heard a loud voice in heaven proclaim:
This is the time of victory for our God!

The time of his power and authority;
when Christ comes to his rightful rule!

To him who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb,
be blessing and honour, glory and might, for ever and ever. Amen!

One thought on “Why Shouting at the Devil?

  1. Great ritual and photo! Thanks, David. Google a related film on the Liberian civil war and the efforts of women there to “Pray the Devil Back to Hell.” There are related rituals in other, non-Christian cultures as well.

    I’m browsing your blog while you’re here in Atlanta, the day before you depart for North Carolina and our CCN-North America board meeting there. Thank you so much for coming our way and keeping us connected with Coventry. God bless you and grant you ‘travelin’ mercies!’ –Thee

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