28 September 2008

St. Michael's Joy

What unspeakable joy to celebrate St. Michael's today! It actually falls tomorrow, so we transferred it to this Sunday as is our wont. White paraments gleamed upon altar, lectern and pulpit (we haven't seen them, I don't believe, since the Nativity of St. John the Baptist). The timpani boomed with the organ on the Sanctus and the closing hymn. The nearness of the angels was palpable as we sang with them today.

Outstanding to me were the various ways the LSB has enhanced this celebration. We sang as the Entrance Hymn, the sturdy "Christ, the Lord of Hosts, Unshaken" by Peter Prange: "Conquers sin and death forever; slams them in their steely cage." The assigned Hymn of the Day is Melanchthon's "Lord God, To Thee We Give All Praise" - which is not new to us - but which truly captures the joy of this day in poetry. The Proper Preface is new to LSB (at least not part of the Common Service heritage - though the Saxons retained it as the normal preface for any day not assigned another preface, it hasn't been around in an official Missouri hymnal since the adoption of the Common Service - before LSB, the last time our sanctuary heard it was when it rang out auf Deutsch!):

It is truly good, right, and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to You, holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Through Him Your majesty is praised by all the holy angels and celebrated with one accord by the heavens and all the powers therein. The cherubim and seraphim sing Your praise, and with them we laud and magnify Your glorious name, evermore praising You and saying: Holy, holy, holy...

Best of all during the Distribution was the joyful singing of Loehe's great hymn "Wide Open Stand the Gates Adorned with Pearl." That text is simply amazing at confessing what the Holy Eucharist does:

This Sacrament God gives us
Binds us in unity,
Joins earth with heaven
Beyond us,
Time with eternity.

Amen! The angels, the saints, the whole of the Church gathered as one at the throne of the One Lamb of God, whose wounds are yet visible above in beauty glorified. We gather as ONE before Him and rejoice that the angels are our companions in worship and attend all our days and ways.

As the invitatory for Matins in these days reminds us: God is glorious in His angels and saints! O come, let us worship Him!


Jeff Caithamer said...

Pastor Weedon,

What is your understanding as to why Michael is called a saint?

William Weedon said...

"Saint" meaning "holy one" simply denotes one who belongs to the Holy, Holy, Holy. Thus we call the angels saints. It is an old church usage, and seems to be rooted also in the Scriptures; see Deut 33:2.

Jeff Caithamer said...

Thank you.