The angels were aflutter with activity. The Lord God had begun his long anticipated creation plan and no one in Heaven wanted to miss the opportunity to help Him. God, knowing the universal angelic desire to assist, made room in His creation for their eagerness. Most of the angels were assigned small chores, according to their skills. Other angels, though, were given assignments of major importance. Arch Angels, like Gabriel and Michael, could be trusted to finish assignments of any size, so they were given the most important jobs.
That is why all heaven was aghast when God said, “Herkimer, I have a most important task for you to do.”
Herkimer? The clumsiest angel in heaven? Angels across the realm of creation were trying to understand God’s choice. Surely He knew Herkimer’s history. He was the angel that had tripped over God’s throne and landed in the middle of the angelic choir, tumbling angels in every direction and halting the music for the first time since angels had been created. God needed to be warned of His mistake.
Gabriel tried first. “Lord, God Almighty, Your wisdom surpasses mine in every area. The work You do no other could do. But, Lord…”
And God said, “Gabriel, don’t you trust my decision to use Herkimer?”
Gabriel reminded himself of God’s all knowing nature and decided to back off from his intended warning about Herkimer. “Oh, Lord, Your knowledge is sufficient. I bow to Your Holiness.”
Then, like an embarrassed child, Gabriel backed out of God’s throne room. No other angel dared to warn God of His mistake.
And God said, “Herkimer, I have chosen you to place the stars I have created. Put them in their rightful places. It is a task of extreme precision. No error can be permitted. Will you do this task for Me?”
Herkimer, the clumsiest angel in heaven, said simply “I will.”
In unison, angels gasped.
With uncertain confidence, the clumsiest angel went into God’s treasure room and scooped up his first armful of stars. Carefully, determined not to make mistakes, he placed each star where God had instructed. Miraculously, the stars held to their assigned positions and began to move in predestinated paths in the universe. Angels watched in amazement as Herkimer dispersed multiplied armfuls of stars.
Finally, Herk was ready for his last armful of stars. He gathered the remaining stars from the treasure room and headed toward his destination. On his way across the great expanse of the universe, though, the inevitable happened. The clumsiest angel in heaven lived up to his reputation. Herkimer tripped.
Every star in his arms went flying across the endless expanse of emptiness. Stars collided with stars, breaking, merging, flaring in random patches of disaster. Herkimer could only watch the horror happen with jaw dropped and eyes filled with tears. How could he ever explain this? How could God ever trust him again? But he knew the reality of his position. There was no place to hide from God. There never would be such a place, for man or angel. So he would just lower his wings and face God with the truth.
And God said, “Herkimer, have you completed your task?”
Herkimer swallowed hard. “About that, Sir…”
And God said, “Why are you upset, Herkimer?”
“I have failed you, Lord.” Herkimer’s tender heart could hold back no longer. He burst into tears. “I… I, Lord, I tripped. Stars went everywhere. It’s a mess… it’s my mess. Lord, I…”
And God said, “Don’t be distraught over such a small thing as tripping. I have been watching you place the stars.”
Herkimer froze. “You know? You knew already?”
And God said “Herkimer, I knew before I chose you what the result would be. That is why I chose you. Every star is where I meant for it to come to rest. Come, let’s take a look at My creation.”
Immediately, God and clumsy angel were in a place outside of creation, looking at the wondrous work that had been done. Herkimer was in awe of the splendor. God pointed to one of the more beautiful array of stars. The angel recognized them. They were the tripped batch, but more beautiful now than he could have ever imagined them.
And God said, “You see, Herkimer? I had it planned. You did well.”
Herkimer, humbled by the majesty of his Lord, could only wipe away his tears.
And God said, “I’ll call it the Milky Way.”
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