The various forms of Holy Communion liturgy we are familiar with usually place a hymn of praise immediately after the Lord, have mercy. While traditionally this has been the Glory to God in the highest, “The Service – Alternative Form” uses This is the Feast of Victory.
Even without the accompanying music, one can hardly miss the note of triumphant joy resounding through this hymn. It lavishes upon our Lord the fullest possible honours: power, riches, wisdom, glory and blessing. The words are based on several key passages in the book of Revelation (5:9-13 and 19:4-9). This writing describes how through the death and resurrection of Christ all the arrogant and ungodly powers of the world will finally be defeated, and are in fact already doomed. This is what we celebrate in this hymn. And what is more, the church through its worship brings this victory
into the world. By singing such things, the church dethrones the idols of this world and announces to the rulers of this world that their power is fading.
A few key phrases are worth noting.
- The feast of which we sing pictures the final happiness of God’s people in the age to come, a happiness that is often described as a feast. In the meantime, our humble feast around the altar anticipates this glorious celebration.
- Although we sing of Christ’s triumph, we are reminded that his victory came about through suffering and the cross: the victorious one is the Lamb who was slain. We too only know victory under the shadow of the cross.
- Nevertheless, this blood is powerful enough to set us free to be people of God. In singing of such freedom, we will always bring to God the oppressed of the world, and pray that they too may experience an exodus from their personal slavery.
- Indeed, we don’t just sing among ourselves, but we sing with all the people of God, and join in the hymn of all creation. Past and future generations, angels and archangels, mountains and seas, animals and trees, sun and moon and stars, are all called to bless the Lord and rejoice in his defeat of decay and evil. Alleluia!
Challenge: Sing this hymn as a challenge to all the powers and rulers of the world!
A series of studies on the Liturgy – Linards Jansons