March 21, 2008

The privilege of the presiding minister

Since my second or third Good Friday as a pastor, I've offered the Sacrament at the Chief Service of the day. I've felt strange about it in years past, because of the papist rule against it, even though the Lutheran arguments in favor are overwhelming. Tonight was the first Good Friday where I had no qualms at all - it was pure joy and contentment. In fact, Good Friday now seems a day of sublime joy, despite the rightly-somber tone of the rite. Even the Reproaches, which are haunting in their accusation, are followed by such a peaceful prayer in the Agnus Dei hymn. Those words, given us by the Holy Spirit to pray, remind that the reproach we deserve has instead been taken by Christ the Lamb.

What was particularly acute for me tonight, though, was this overwhelming thought at the distribution: what a privilege it is to give the Body of the crucified and risen Lord to the people, whether notable in the eyes of others or not. A sin I am sometimes given to is focusing on the cross and burden of the ministry. Tonight, such dark thoughts were gone entirely - if was pure gift to distribute the Gifts, and I am glad on this Friday we call Good.

2 comments:

Susan said...

>>Even the Reproaches, which are haunting in their accusation, are followed by such a peaceful prayer in the Agnus Dei hymn.

There's one thing about the reproaches that always sends shivers up my back. God says, "This is what you've done; this is how you've reacted to My blessings" and then -- even in spite of our despicable attitude -- He still calls us His own: "o My people." Before we even get to the "have mercy" or the "O Christ, Thou Lamb of God," He still owns us as His people. That's just mind-boggling.

Christopher Esget said...

That's a great point, Susan.

I think the same thing works going the other way in Psalm 22. Even in His forsakenness, our Lord still calls His Father, "My God."