SHARERS IN EVERLASTING LIFE
“Now the powers of heaven minister invisibly with us. For, behold, the King of Glory enters. Behold the mystical sacrifice, fully accomplished, is ushered in. Let us draw near in faith and love, that we may become sharers/partakers (μέτοχοι, причастники) in everlasting life. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.” (Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, Great Entrance hymn)
This is the hymn we sing at the Lenten Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, when the “mystical sacrifice” of the Body and Blood of Christ, the already-consecrated Gifts (consecrated at the Divine Liturgy of the previous Sunday), are transferred in a solemn procession from the Prothesis-table to the Holy Table in the altar. Here the unity of “us” with “the powers of heaven,” of the earthly and the heavenly, the temporal and everlasting, is stressed, just as it is in the Byzantine Divine Liturgy. Why? Because the Body of Christ brings all of creation together, the visible and invisible.
So let me “draw near,” as I am invited to do, that I may be a “sharer” or “partaker” not just of “life and life only” (in the words of Bob Dylan), but of “everlasting life,” which extends above and beyond my smallness and brokenness. I am invited to share in the Body of Christ, – consecrated, broken, and given for me. So let me share in His brokenness, that I may be restored to wholeness, visible and invisible. Amen!