All the Company of Heaven
Our son’s grade school and high school friend, Cameron, was killed in a car accident a couple of days ago. Of course, great sadness ensues. Thoughts encircle us on the grief of his parents, and of all those who shared Cameron’s zest for life. But this is also a time to confess, to confess what it is that Christ has done for us. On the cross Christ took away Cameron’s sin, and he, a Baptized child of God, is now in Christ’s eternal presence.
As Lutherans, every Sunday in the Divine Service we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. In the Proper Preface for All Saints’ Day the pastor proclaims:
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, who in the multitude of your saints did surround us with so great a cloud of witnesses that we, rejoicing in their fellowship, may run with patience the race that is set before us and, together with them, may receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. Therefore with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven we laud and magnify your glorious name, evermore praising you and saying…
The congregants respond in the Sanctus:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, Lord God of power and might: Heaven and earth are full of Your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
The Eucharistic Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer follow, and then the Words of Institution are spoken. The bread, which is Christ’s very body, is held high for all the people to see. The cup, which is the very blood of Christ poured out for you for the forgiveness of your sins, is elevated. It is here that heaven and earth are indeed full of the Lord’s glory, for where Christ is, there is heaven. The “not yet” becomes the “now.” Heaven and earth are united in glorious communion. All of us, along with angels, archangels, Cameron, and all the company of heaven, sing God’s praises in unison. So while we grieve the loss of our friend Cameron, we rejoice that together we sing the same song every Sunday, and look forward with certainty to the day when we will be reunited with him and all Christians that have gone before us. “’O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57 ESV).
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