In Faith Toward You and in Fervent Love Toward One Another

by The Rev. Rich Heinz

“We give thanks to You, almighty God, that You have refreshed us through this salutary gift, and we implore You that of Your mercy You would strengthen us through the same in faith toward You and in fervent love toward one another; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.”

At each Divine Service, we pray a Collect of thanksgiving following the Holy Supper. Did you realize that that you are praying to the Lord about your vocations?

This prayer thanking our heavenly Father reminds you that the saving Gift of Christ’s Body and Blood continues to forgive and sustain you after the Supper is over. In addition, it reminds you that your whole life is one of continual worship, as you serve the Lord in faith and serve your neighbor in love. That’s right! The Divine Service is primarily about God’s giving His Holy Gifts, and you receiving them by faith. Outside of the Divine Service, your actions to serve others (wherever you are) give worship to Him.

How is this service done? That depends. Each of you have been given a number of different vocations. Service as a son or daughter usually includes household chores or helpful acts your parents ask you to do. Service as a student involves paying attention to teachers and professors, doing your homework to the best of your ability, and encouraging fellow students to do the same. Service in extracurricular activities means conscientiously training, keeping the schedule, and being helpful to all involved. Service as an employee means showing up on time, doing your best, and cheerfully helping co-workers and customers. Service as a newly-licensed driver means being especially careful to practice the safe, responsible, and defensive driving techniques you learned. You get the picture.

In these ways (and in your many other roles of service) you are actually serving God! Your worship goes beyond faithfully receiving Jesus in Word and Sacrament on Sunday. It means carrying out your faith in daily life. It means being a willing servant to all and doing your best to put others first, out of love and service to God and others.

Everything you do has its foundation in the faith He has given you in Baptism and nurtured with His Supper and His Gospel. In your vocations you live your life as one giant “thank you” to the Lord. It all continues through the week as you lovingly serve others around you, just as our Lord Jesus would have you do.

Will you live out your vocation perfectly? Absolutely not! But that’s where Jesus Christ’s vocation as your Holy Savior makes all the difference. He cleanses the stain of your sin. He changes your unwilling and obstinate heart, granting joyful service to your neighbors. He sends His Spirit to fill you with His Means of Grace, that you may overflow with the Light of the World to all in your various vocations.

God has placed you in your “station” in life. You probably have a variety of different roles or responsibilities. These are your many vocations. And in each and every one of them, as a baptized child of God you honor and worship your heavenly Father. All that you say and do, you do it “in faith toward [God] and in fervent love toward one another.”

So continue in your sacramentally-centered life – flowing from and returning to Christ’s altar every chance you get. Serve “in faith toward God and in fervent love toward one another. ” Live a life of worship, rejoicing in the One who serves you forgiveness, life, and salvation in His Divine Service!

Created: April 18th, 2007