you know who you are

The congregation in heaven and the congregation on earth join together in singing, “Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might: heaven and earth are full of Your glory. Hosanna. Hosanna. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.”

At this point in the Divine Service the curtain separating this life from the next is drawn back and we sing with those who have gone before us the glory of Christ’s victory over sin and death. Here, in the Divine Service, as nowhere else on earth, we are together as one, saints above and saints on earth. Here, more than anywhere else in this life, we are near to those who have died in Christ. No memories or private devotions can rival the reality that all the community of heaven worships with us when we worship together in the Divine Service on Sunday morning. What better place to find healing and reunion with loved ones than in the gathering of God’s people before the altar?

With the coming of God down from heaven in His body and blood in Holy Communion we have before us that moment for which the liturgy has been preparing us from the beginning. In this moment there is no room for anything but God so that we both consume and are consumed by Him. This is the greatest moment of our loss and our gain. As we lose ourselves in Christ, we regain eternal life. Here, in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, we experience the healing that begins with letting go of everything else in this life. For a moment we have no grief, no anger or bitterness, no sadness or distress, no losses—only joy and gain. It is enough to set us on the path of daily living as hope revives each Sunday morning in experiencing heaven on earth in the Divine Service, where God Himself serves us for the healing of the nations.

There will always be a bittersweet ambivalence the Christian feels as he waits for the day when he too will join the saints in heaven as part of the eternal worship of God that we taste in part on a Sunday morning in the Divine Service on earth. Paul himself expressed it saying, “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body” (Phil. 1:23-24). Until that day when all tears are wiped away, we are given the gift of the Divine Service, where saints in this life and the next join together in the praise of God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

 

–Dr. Richard Eyer, They Will See His Face

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