Tomorrow we'll do it again: sing Hymn 670 in Lutheran Service Book. In this hymn, Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones, the first hymn is addressed to the choirs of the holy angels:
Ye watchers and ye holy ones,
Bright seraphs, cherubim and thrones,
Raise the glad strain! Alleluia!
Cry out, dominions, princedoms, powers,
Virtues, archangels, angel choirs!
The second stanza, however, is addressed to the blessed and most holy Virgin Mary:
O higher than the Cherubim,
More glorious than the Seraphim,
Lead their praises.
Thou, Bearer of the Eternal Word,
Most gracious, magnify the Lord.
Nothing so vibrantly confesses the communion of saints as this joyful hymn that calls upon the Mother of God to lead the praises. Some might ask, can we say this about her? Is she truly higher than the Cherubim? Is she truly more glorious than the Seraphim? The only answer can be a question: which Angel gave birth to the Eternal Word and Son of the Father? No angel! Only the Blessed Virgin Mary did this, and so she is truly Mother of God and we rightly call upon her lead the angelic hosts in their praises of her Son, the Eternal Word; we ask her, the most gracious ("full of grace" as the Angel called her) to "magnify the Lord!" The words recall her hymn Magnificat: "My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior."
After calling upon Mary to lead the praises of God's people, we move on to others:
Respond, ye souls in endless rest,
Ye patriarchs and prophets blest!
Ye holy twelve, ye martyrs strong,
All saints triumphant raise the song,
From the angels to Mary, from Mary to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Isaiah, Daniel, Jeremiah and all the prophets. From them to Peter, James, John, Andrew and all the twelve and all who have poured out their blood for the Lamb. From them to ALL the saints - all who have been baptized into Christ and washed in His blood. We call upon them all to join the song of the Lamb's triumph with their alleluias.
And we join them too:
O friends in gladness let us sing,
Supernal anthems echoing,
To God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit,
Three in One,
So it is that the choirs of angels join the holy mother, the patriarchs and prophets, the apostles and martyrs, all saints and we, we whom our Lord called "friends," are privileged to sing our alleluias with them. Behold, beloved, the mystery of the Church as ONE communion, ONE fellowship in Christ, bound together by the one Spirit in the life that can never end! Alleluia, indeed!