13 August 2007

Keep us in fellowship...

One of the most beautiful prayers of the Church in LSB (picking up on SBH and LW) offers this petition near the end:

We remember with thanksgiving those who have loved and served You in Your church on earth, who now rest from their labors (especially....). Keep us in fellowship with all Your saints, and bring us at last to the joys of Your heavenly Kingdom.

Taking advantage of the elipsis last week, Pastor Mayes commemorated the saints we usually remember by name:

The blessed Virgin Mary; Joseph, her husband; John the Baptist; the holy apostles Peter and Paul; and all Your martyrs.

The Church as the body of the LIVING Christ is a communion with these saints of old, and indeed with so many more than we could ever name. But we remember each week at the altar *some* of these as a reminder that they are *all* part of the koinonia in which we are given a share, and our great petition then is that sharing this koinonia with them, God would finally bring us His heavenly Kingdom. Together we have received in Christ Jesus a share in the life that death cannot destroy, and so when we gather together around His throne, we always gather with them - "the spirits of the righteous made perfect" as Hebrews 12 puts it.


Anastasia Theodoridis said...

How does this "fellowship" work for Lutherans in actal practice?


William Weedon said...

As we gather about the altar each week we remember that we join not only with "angels and archangels" but also "with all the company of heaven." We sang last week:

Wide open stand the gates adorned with pearl,
While round God's golden throne
The choirs of saints in endless circles curl,
And joyous praise the Son!
They watch Him now descending
To visit waiting earth.
The Lord of life unending
Bring dying hope new birth.

He speaks the Word, the bread and wine to bless;
"This is my flesh and blood!"
He bids us eat and drink with thankfulness
This gift of holy food.
All human thought must falter,
Our God stoops low to heal,
Now present on the altar,
For us both host and meal.

The cherubim, their faces veiled from light,
While saints in wonder kneel,
Sing praise to Him whose face with glory bright
No earthly masks conceal.
This Sacrament God gives us
Bind us in unity,
Joins earth with heav'n beyond us,
Time with eternity.
LSB 639