From the Pastor


"therefore with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Thy glorious name, evermore praising Thee and saying: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth; heaven and earth are full of Thy glory, Hosanna in the highest.  Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.  Hosanna in the highest." from Divine Service 3, LSB p. 195.

These familiar words are spoken and sung by the pastor and the congregation during the Communion Liturgy.  As with the entire liturgy, these words are recited both to instruct the people of God in the true meaning of the Holy Sacrament, and to prepare them to receive it faithfully.

There is an important emphasis here on the universal nature of the Church.  Even though the Christian congregation is located in a particular time and place, there is a God-given unity of the Church that transcends all times and places.  With these words we are reminded that as we gather together to recieve the Lord's Sacreament, we do so not in isolation, but in eternal fellowship with the entire Church of God in heaven and on earth.'

The source and context of the words that we sing in the Sancuts are significant.  The first part, "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabatoh, heaven and earth are full of Thy glory." comes from Isaiah 6.  It is not an earthly song, but rather a heavenly one.  In Isaiah's vision of the Lord, it is the song sung by the angels around the heavenly throne  The second part, "Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest" comes from the Palm Sunday account of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, found in Matthew 21.  It is the song of the multitudes that welcomed the Lord to Jerusalem.

As we prepare to receive the Lord's Supper, we do not invent our own songs or speak our own words, Instead, we join together with the multitudes in Jerusalem in singing welcoming praise to the One who comes to us in His own body and blood, and we join together with the angels and archangels in heaven in singing eternal praise to the Holy Trinity (hence the threefold "Holy").  We are reminded that we are not alone in our worship of God, but hat we are a part of the one Church of God, the Kingdom of God in heaven and on earth, which permeates all time and space.  We partake of the same eternal gift of God in His great Feast, and we add our voiceds to the same eternal song of praise and thanksgiving.

In case the congregation is unaware of this significance or the source of the words we sing, it is spoken plainly in the prayer which prefaces the singing of the Sancuts.  The pastor prays, on behalf of the whole congregation, "Therefore with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Thy glorious name, evermore praising Thee and saying..." These words are not drawn directly from the Scriptures, but are important in introducing and setting the context for the Biblical songs.  Again, we add our voices to those of the angels and archangels and all the company of heaven. W e are in integral part of the one universal Church as we receive the Lord's Sacrament and sing His praises.

In the Holy Communion we are united in fellowship not only with the rest of the congregation, not only with other congregations and people within our denomination, but with the eternal Church of God.  Perhaps of more personal significance is that through this Sacrament we are united in fellowship with the Faithful Departed, that is, all those who have gone before us in the faith.  As we take time the first Sunday in November to remember All Saints, commomorating particulary those who have died in the past year, we can also be comforted in the knowledge that they also participate in the Great Freast of salvation, they also join in singing the eternal song of praise to the Lord.  For a brief moment during the Communion liturgy, we catch a glimpse, a foretast, of the Church Triumphant.

 

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