Company of Heaven

Q. What does it mean when we pray in our communion liturgy, "...Therefore with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven we laud and magnify your glorious name..."?

A. In the Lord's Supper we can certainly say that we are with the Lord, or perhaps better, to say that the Lord is with us as he comes to us in his body and blood. And as we come into his presence in which he feeds us, we certainly lift up our voices in praise and thanksgiving for his mercy and grace. Now think of it from the perspective of the saints in heaven. They are also with the Lord. In the Revelation to St. John we read, "They are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple" (Rev. 7:15) Standing in the presence of the Lord, their song of praise, like that of the angels, never ceases. The common denominator in all of this is Jesus. He is the one Lord, both of the faithful in this world and of those who already enjoy the life of the world to come. When we speak of "laud and magnifying" God together with the whole company of heaven, it is probably best to say that our worship here on earth is being joined to that heavenly, ongoing worship which has no end. In this sense, we are joined with those who have preceded us in glory. It isn't helpful to take this analogy too far lest we get bogged down in details that the Scriptures don't reveal. Yet, the reality is that in the Lord's Supper our Lord accomplishes a miracle as he brings all of his faithful followers into communion with himself and, hence, with one another.

  November 2020  
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