Historical Church Writings #13: Hermann Sasse on the body of Christ
Today is Historical Church Writing Thursday. Each Thursday will feature the writings of the church fathers, reformation fathers or other church writings. Today's Historical Church Writing is from Hermann Sasse:
"Patriarches of sacred story
And the prophets there are found;
The apostles, too, in glory
On twelve seats are there enthroned
All the saints that have ascended
Age on age, through time extended,
There in blissful concert sing
Hallelujahs to their King."
Thus the old funeral hymn...speaks of the church of all the perfected in heaven (cf. Hebrews 12:22-23). And this thought of the fathers of the church who have preceded us into heaven rings through the centuries down to Wilhelm Lohe's hymn on the Sacrament, where it says of heaven: "There the angel host stands inflamed in your [God's] light, and my fathers gaze upon your sight." All the saints, from the beginning of the world who have died believing in the Redeemer, whether he was yet to come or had come in the flesh, all members of the people of God of all times to the present day -- in this sense, all are fathers of the church. Whether Christians have found themselves in loneliness of a Siberian prison camp or the isolation of the diaspora or suffering inner alienation within the great secularized "churches" of our century, it has become ever more the consolation of those who have suffered for the sake of the church and whom God has led on a "lonely path" to know that they are not alone in the one church of God. They who have been removed from every error and sin of the earthly church stand with us in the seamless fellowship of the body of Christ.