14 November 2007

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Death cannot separate the members of the Body of Christ, the Church. The Church on earth knows of no separation from the Church beyond the grave. What is this bond of union? Why, the Communion. At the Altar we link ourselves with the saints. Here we are caught up with them. The Blessed Sacrament is the link that binds us with our risen and ascended Lord, and the whole company of Heaven. Here at the Altar I get a glimpse of the saints. Here I am united with them, and here heaven is made real to me as my faith is nourished. -- von Schenk, *The Presence* p. 127

14 comments:

christopher palo said...

Then explain how Lutherans continue to erroneously justify that the saints should not be invoked or asked for their prayers since they stand before the throne of God in His glory?

If death cannot separate us from them (and it doesn't as von Schenk says), then this "cornerstone" of the Lutheran confessions needs serious reexamination and should be jettisoned in favor of the Orthodox teaching on this.

William Weedon said...

Well, note that von Schenk in the same chapter says: ''Now let us not get any false notions. We do not say that we make our approach by praying to the saints, to have them intercede for us, or anything like that." (p. 124)

The stress in von Schenk is that we approach the saints through Christ in the Sacrament; not that we approach Christ through the saints.

christopher palo said...

YOu say that "we approach the saints through Christ in the sacrament; not that we approach Christ through the saints."

Both...and, Fr. Weedon. The saints live because Christ lives in them. God reveals Himself in many ways and especially throuh His mysteries. That does not nor should it deter us from approaching Him in a very holistic manner.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

It seems so unnatural to believe the saints are truly here with us, one with us, worshipping with us,and yet carefully to avoid speaking to them! Not even a single word. Nope, we wouldn't want to to THAT. What kind of way is that to treat a saint of God?

Anastasia

William Weedon said...

Ah, but it's not at all strange when we've come into the presence of the great King and we are standing there together with them. We have no desire to chat up each other - but to listen to Him who alone is our desire and our joy. We rejoice that they are there with us and we with them, but the focus of our attention and theirs in not each other, but Him.

Confused said...

William,
You wrote, "Ah, but it's not at all strange when we've come into the presence of the great King and we are standing there together with them. We have no desire to chat up each other - but to listen to Him who alone is our desire and our joy." But this doesn't really make much sense to apply to us here on earth then does it. It seems as though you want to draw a parallel in one place (the Church is one, on heaven and earth) but then destroy the parallel on another level (we don't talk to the saints...which in a parallel manner would mean we shouldn't bother talking to each other here, on earth, as well then but instead just listen "to Him who is alone our desire and joy").

Confused

William Weedon said...

Not at all. When our people gather in the nave there is no talking to each other. There is silence before the King. When we do speak, we speak together to Him. When He speaks, we listen in joyful silence to both His words of rebuke and His words of comfort. You know the old intro: "God speaks and we listen. His word bestows what it says..."

Von Schenk's point is that this unity with the saints is experienced precisely at the Altar, where we with them join in praising the Lamb of God and He imparts to us as one Church His unending life.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Any argument whose premise is that attention given a saint is attention subtracted from God misunderstands who a saint is, and what his relationship with Christ is.

Anastasia

orrologion said...

I guess the question comes down to what is meant by "make our approach". It isn't as if we can't approach God except through the saints, it's that we get to approach God and His saints, in whom He shines and with whom He is united by nature. I think the paradigm within which the issue is being discussed in von Schenk is that of merit, the blood-thristy god that must be appeased by blood and the supererogatory merits of the saints and such. That is not the "approach" the Orthodox mean when discussing theinvocation and intercession of the saints - and I think this has very little to do with what RCs mean by the same either.

Building a whole safeguard against abuses that may have been common 500 years ago seems a bit odd, but veterans often jump at the sudden backfiring of cars long after their return from the front lines, so...

That being said, it is a wonderful image of all the saints, living and reposed, glorified and unknown, standing before the altar of our great and wonderous God. As beautiful as the moon is, the Sun is the more; at the same time, as glorious as the Sun is, the Moon has a beauty its own always dependent on the unseen Sun.

Anonymous said...

Why in the office of Compline do we confess our sin to God Almighty BEFORE THE WHOLE COMPANY OF HEAVEN and to our brothers and sisters?

William Weedon said...

It's a confession that to be in the presence of God is to be in the presence of His saints. In the original Roman confetior, the saints are named:

I confess to almighty God, to Blessed Mary Ever-Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, to all the saints...

In the Lutheran rite, the reality of confession in the presence of all the saints is maintained without the risk of confusing confession to God with confession to the saints. In their presence, we confess our sins and ask from the Lord the forgiveness that He delights to give.

William Weedon said...

It's a confession that to be in the presence of God is to be in the presence of His saints. In the original Roman confetior, the saints are named:

I confess to almighty God, to Blessed Mary Ever-Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, to all the saints...

In the Lutheran rite, the reality of confession in the presence of all the saints is maintained without the risk of confusing confession to God with confession to the saints. In their presence, we confess our sins and ask from the Lord the forgiveness that He delights to give.

Lutheran Lucciola said...

Just my two cents, this doesn't seem confusing to me at all. We are still in the church, and connected in Christ, but I'm not interested in praying to the humans that passed before me. Why would I want to confess to them?

I love them, but it's God I am praying to.

orrologion said...

Along that line of reasoning, why ever confess to anyone but God and why ask anyone to pray for you since you can pray to God directly. Invocation of the saints for their intercession isn't either/or. We can pray (lit., "ask) both to God and to His saints in whom God is glorified according to the Psalmist and Church tradition.