The Cult of the Saints (not what you think)

This Lent I have done something I didn’t think I’d ever do: I formed a Lenten Sermon Series.  I don’t like Lenten Sermon Series’ for many reasons that I won’t get into here, and most of which are somewhat psychological, unprovable, and downright ghostly. Anyway, I succumbed – honestly because what else are going to do for the five midweek services that are more sacrosanct than the Eucharist to many Lutherans, yet so few attend them.  Anyway…

My sermon series is entitled, “Living the Christian Life in…”  Last week was, “…in Witness,” this week is “… in Community”.  Living the Christian Life in Community.  How do we live according to the Way in the community?  First by participating (not merely attending) the Eucharistic Feast, the heavenly banquet, the gathering of the saints.  This is the chief thing; the one thing needful.  It’s more than “going to church”.  It’s living a life that is ordered by our heavenly Father.  It is more than just eating and drinking.  It is hearing, responding, serving, being served, eating, drinking, and yes, sharing.  Not the pedantic sharing of two strangers trying to feel good about themselves, but the sharing of two brothers sharing life together.  We share in the life of God, the life of Jesus.

Our first community is the community of Jesus; He being the Head, the Chief, the Captain, the King.  This community defines all other relations, even the one with our spouse.  We do not give this community up for anything.  We do not belittle it in any way.  We do not belittle those who belong to it.  We cherish it like a husband cherishes a good wife.  We cherish it like a woman cherishes a strong husband.  We cherish it like children cherish a loving and strong parent.  We let it form us, shape us, break us, mend us, yes even control us.  If this sound cultish, it is.  The cult of the saints. Not the medieval cult of the saints, but the culture of the saints of God.

But hear me: this is not voters or members or councils.  This is the Diving Liturgy, the Divine Service.  This is the gathering of the Spirit calling the children of the Father by the Gospel, calling them to participate in the life of Jesus.  This is not meetings or boards or anything that smacks of organization.  This is the eschatological in-gathering.  This is the only community that matters.

Then, it those less-than-real moments of what is called “day-to-day life,” when we find ourselves in the wilderness, among the dogs, in chaos, our life will be ordered. It will not be anxious but free.  It will not be tiresome but content.  Then we will be lights in that other community in which we move (but not live or have our being), the cult of the damned; the culture of the unholy ones.  For we do indeed live in this world.  But the light of Christ, which only glows as longs as we are united to Him, glows in us so that we – the good works of Jesus – shine before the sons of this world and His heavenly Father is glorified.


2 Responses

  1. Fr. Lovett:
    Thanks for this excellent entry on what the Christian life is, and is not.

    I really appreciate and completely resonate with your objective of showing your people that our life and all centers on the Eucharistic Liturgy (I wish we had a descriptor that others besides our LCMS confines understood…The Divine Service is a term of only our use) and with the peace received therein we are free to live the vocations God has called us to.

    Thanks for sharing this and linking it to Facebook where I could find it. Now that I have found your blog, I will be stopping in more often.

    I missed you greatly at the last STS Chapter retreat and am glad to know you are well this Lententide.

  2. A thoughtful piece. Thanks, Pr. Lovett!

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