“Ave Maria” at St Paul’s Lutheran Church

Well, we did have an enjoyable Christmas this year. Our children are growing up, so instead of going to the 6:30pm Family Mass at their school’s mass centre, we went to 8:30pm Lessons and Carols at their Lutheran Parish of St Paul in Box Hill. I then went to Midnight Mass in my parish, and in the morning we were back at St Paul’s so the rest of my family could make their Christmas communion. That also gave us time to have a relaxed Christmas Eve dinner of seafood together, before opening the first gift – a new Nativity set.

Midnight Mass at my parish was a bit of a disappointment. Except for four carols instead of four hymns, it was just spoken mass like any Sunday. No incense, no carols, no chant (not even sung congregational pieces of the liturgy), in fact, come to think of it, I didn’t even see a Christmas tree! The young woman who played the piano and led the singing was very good (a great talent, even), but she wasn’t given much scope for anything other than the carols. It was all over in 45 minutes.

Lessons and Carols at St Paul’s, however, was a great treat. The choir and organist there are top notch, and their selection was brilliant. I have listed the full program on my other blog, together with a discussion of one of the carols, “Est ist ein Ros”.

But what I wish to discuss here is another short piece they did, a setting of “Ave Maria” by Franz Biebel. This is a sublime setting, which they have used before at other services. BUT, you say, how can Lutherans sing the Ave Maria? I’m glad you asked.

Back when a former assitant pastor was at St Paul’s, he (who shall not be named so as not to embarass him) suggested that instead of “Sancte Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis…etc.” they should sing “Domine Jesu, Agnus Dei, ora pro nobis…etc.”

It works musically. But does it work theologically – either from a Catholic or a Protestant point of view? My thought is: NO.

Why is this? Because it demotes the role of Jesus as the One Mediator.

This arises from a point which Lutherans constatly miss about the Catholic practice of invoking Mary’s prayers. They say we treat her like God, because you can only pray to God. In fact, what we are doing when we invoke the sants is asking our brothers and sisters in Christ (living or dead) to “pray for us” THROUGH the mediatorship of Christ.

We fully recognise that the Scriptures say that both Jesus and the Spirit “intercede for us” at the right hand of the Father. That isn’t in dispute. But the fact is that “pray for us” is an invocation that the Christian tradition has always and only addressed to human beings. Nowhere in the whole tradition do we ask JESUS to pray for us – or the Holy Spirit for that matter. Thus, to replace Mary with Jesus in the Ave Maria as the opposite effect that Lutherans would want to achieve by such an alteration. Rather than exalt Jesus as the One Mediator, they demote him to an intercessor among others.

There is another, unrelated, idea that sprang to my mind while reflecting upon this. Protestants say that praying to the saints is a practice that is unallowable since nowhere in Scripture are we told that we should or can do so. I have tried elsewhere to explain why this is an allowable and venerable practice, and had my explanation dismissed as “speculation”.

The fact is – note this well – there is nowhere in Scripture where we are told to pray to Jesus either! Nor do we find anywhere in Scripture where Jesus is prayed to, rather than the Father through or in the name of Jesus (I am discounting here for the moment the places in the Gospels where blindmen and lepers etc pray “Kyrie eleison” to Jesus as he is passing by – that is not, in those contexts, strictly a prayer to the exalted Christ).

I do not wish to reject the devotional practice of prayer to Jesus – or the Holy Spirit, of course (it should be noted that in the liturgical tradition of the Church – with very few exceptions which prove the rule – prayer is always offered to the Father, through the Son, and in the Spirit). But I am saying that we justify the practice based on a theology of the divinity of Jesus as the Son of God, a theology that was worked out (speculated?) after the completion of the Scriptural writings.

Just another “tradition” that Protestants have not rejected, and which a strictly “sola scriptura” approach should reject.

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28 Comments

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28 responses to ““Ave Maria” at St Paul’s Lutheran Church

  1. If one does the Schubert Ave Maria, then one can easily sing it in a Lutheran Church, stopping at the end of the first section which up to that point is simply the language of Scripture. The second section is a musical repeat and contains the “ora pro nobis…” My wife has sung it at St. Paul’s before for Christmas.

    • Yes, I agree. I think this is the best solution musically – it is a repitition musically in this setting too.

      Or just get over the objection to invoking Mary’s prayers! 🙂

  2. P.S. Merry Christmas!!!

  3. David,

    I thought there might be a lull in these discussions over the Christmas season, but evidently not. I’m happy to engage in this discussion, although I suspect we shall end up parting again at the Roman “and”. However, I want to eschew polemics as much as possible, even though electronic communication is a medium that lends itself so easily to polemics, and have a civilised dialogue.

    Now, you wrote: “This arises from a point which Lutherans constatly miss about the Catholic practice of invoking Mary’s prayers. They say we treat her like God, because you can only pray to God. In fact, what we are doing when we invoke the sants is asking our brothers and sisters in Christ (living or dead) to “pray for us” THROUGH the mediatorship of Christ. ”

    ‘Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.’ You could surely understand our “Protestant” reservations, David, if we consider that a prayer *to* Mary, and not to Mary *through Jesus*.

    Secondly, yes, there is still the problem of how Mary hears all the prayers addressed to her; that Jesus might inform her – though all this is above our understanding and is speculation – is possible, but again we c ome back to the fact that this prayer and countless millions of others offered by RCs to the saints are prayed directly to the saints and not through Christ. Without ascribing divine attributes to the souls of those in heaven, it is difficult to see how this is possible.

    That is not the most weighty objection, though, which I shall come to shortly.

    • The Hail Mary is a prayer to Mary to pray for us. It is always (like all requests for prayer, to either the living or the dead) made in the communion of saints. Just like all prayer which we make to God is “through Jesus”, even if we do not explicitly say “in the name of Jesus” or “through Jesus Christ our Lord” at the end of the prayer, so all prayers to the saints are to be understood as being made in the communion of saints in Christ, not apart from him. I don’t know what we can do to assure you on this point. We keep saying “yes it is” and you keep saying “no it isn’t”. There is something rather Pythonesque about this!

      As for Jesus “informing” Mary of our requests of intercession, that is a little too “mechanical” for what happens spiritually. My point is that all our fellowship with one another in the communion of saints is fellowship in Christ through the Spirit. It is this fellowship which is unlimited by fleshly limitations for the saints in heaven. Therefore they are close to us and hear our prayers in and only because of this commnion established in Christ.

  4. You wrote further, “We fully recognise that the Scriptures say that both Jesus and the Spirit “intercede for us” at the right hand of the Father. That isn’t in dispute. But the fact is that “pray for us” is an invocation that the Christian tradition has always and only addressed to human beings. Nowhere in the whole tradition do we ask JESUS to pray for us – or the Holy Spirit for that matter. Thus, to replace Mary with Jesus in the Ave Maria as the opposite effect that Lutherans would want to achieve by such an alteration. Rather than exalt Jesus as the One Mediator, they demote him to an intercessor among others.”

    I honestly find it hard to understand what you’re getting at here, David. In order to defend your position, you seem to be claiming too muc, viz. that Jesus is not to be regarded as an intecessor, and that therefore we need other intercessors. Yet, at the beginning of the para., you acknowledge that the fact that Jesus intercedes for us is not under dispute.
    That is somewhat confusing. Is not Jesus a human being, albeit one ascended bodily to heaven? Why should he not then be regarded as our intercessor par excellence before the Father in Heaven? Consider Is. 53:12; Luke 23:34; John 17; Heb 7:25; 1 John 2:1; Romans 8:34. Surely, these scripture verses, along with the others that touch on this subject, refer to more than simply pleading for our salvation with his blood before our heavenly Father, they surely also include prayers for the gathering adn preserving of the church, just as we witness our Lord do in the Garden of Gethsemane, for example.
    So, we at least have scripture and historical precedent in our Lord’s ministry for our argument, which I must again say you do not.

    Which brings me to the crucial point – please supply the Divine promise, command or even an unambiguous precedent that establishes the invocation of Mary and the saints as a God-pleasing practice. Without such, it is not safe for me to add to a practice which I know has God’s approval another which is doubtful. At the least, my conscience would be unsure, at the worst, I would be guilty of idolatry.

    • Sorry, Mark, I don’t think I made myself clear enough. All the passages to which you refer are those which I acknowledged in my main post as scriptural proof that Jesus is our Intercessor in Heaven. That isn’t my point. What is my point is that nowhere in Scripture are we given a “divine promise, command or even an unambiguous precedent” for addressing our prayers TO Jesus.

      Lutherans do not dispute the fact that the saints in heaven are our intercessors (cf. the Apology – I don’t have the actual paragraph ref before me now). I can also supply at least one scriptural passage to prove that the departed saints pray for us (Rev. 6:9-10). So that is not in dispute either.

      My point is that we have as much basis for actually invoking the prayers of the saints, or for addressing prayer to the saints, as we have scriptural basis for actually invoking the prayers of Jesus, or for actually addressing our prayers to Jesus – ie. none. Both are practices that developed in the Church apart from Scriptural precedent.

      And the fact is that it is highly unusual (I do not know of any case in the Church’s liturgical tradition) where we ask Jesus to “pray for us”. And this is borne out by our actual practice. Consider the Great Litany. In the Litany, the petitions directed to Persons of the Holy Trinity all have the response “Have mercy on us” or “we beseech thee to hear us”. The petitions directed to the Saints, on the other hand, have “pray for us”, and thus the distinction between prayer to God and prayer to human saints is upheld.

      I know that the Lutherans have shorne the liturgy of all the invocations of the saints, nevertheless, they too have kept the “Have mercy on us” response for Persons of the Holy Trinity. No where in the Lutheran liturgy or devotional practice is Jesus asked to “pray for us”.

      Thus, there is a distinction between the way we address God and the way we address human saints in our prayers.

      The problem is that Protestants have taken prayer to be something which can only be addressed to God. I don’t know of any biblical reason for this restriction. If I am missing something, please show me. Please show me also any scriptural passage which gives a “divine promise, command or even an unambiguous precedent” for prayer to Jesus. (Please note: I am, of course, not saying that we cannot pray to Jesus. That would be silly and wrong. But what I am saying is that this practice does not rest on a scriptural promise, command, or precedent.)

  5. An interesting post.

    Of course Jesus could pray for his disciples. He still does. Presumably he does to the Father. Is this your understanding?

    But you are contending that we are should not ask for his prayer to the Father.

    I agree with you, that it does seem left field, from the perspective of tradition.

    I’m curious to see how this discussion turns out.

  6. Of course Jesus could pray for his disciples. He still does. Presumably he does to the Father. Is this your understanding?

    Yes, of course it is!

    But you are contending that we are should not ask for his prayer to the Father.

    I need to be clear:

    1. I do not dispute the practice of prayer to Jesus. I am just disputing the biblical basis for this practice. I should add at this point that in fact there is at least one example of this in scripture – we found it tonight while reading the story from Acts of the martyrdom of Stephen. As he was dying he said “Lord Jesus receive my spirit.” Still, there is no command or promise in Scripture (as I have yet discovered anyway) about prayer to Jesus.

    2. and my only point about this is that like prayer to Mary, it is a tradition!

    3. my other point was that the exact formulation “ora pro nobis” is not used in the Tradition of any person of the Holy Trinity. The idea that this means a “demotion” of Jesus was not meant in respect to his role of Intercessor (in some kind of subordinationist sense), but rather that the petition “ora pro nobis” is only ever addressed to humans in the tradition, not to the Divine Persons.

  7. Matthias

    What a pity about the Midnight mass at St ….’s ,and the lack of more carols and appropriate chants. Might it be due to the er, personality including the socio-cultural backgroundof the parish priest.
    I have to say that i really enjoyed singing at your church the other Sunday and being a part of the worship .
    Well Schutz you could always go to Father Laurence Cross’s Russian Catholic church for their observance of Christmas in January. perhaps ask your priest to attend. Das ver danya.

    • PM

      David’s observations on the Christmas liturgy at his parish are all too familiar. (Happily, my own parich is an exception.) The Church needs to get serious about musical education (as well as religious education – but that’s another story). We can’t just keep expecting fully formed musicians to fall from the sky and do it all for free – and then letting them be run out of town by the self-styled inclusivistas because they are ‘elitist’ and ‘divisive’. If homosexuals think they are hard done by in parishes, they should talk to a classically trained musician.

  8. Matthias

    PM can you come to my church and perhaps give music lessons to one of the musos’. When we had a thursday night service and an old hymn was sung,after of course his modern lot,he seemed to not know it. Perhaps he should come with me when i next sing with Schutz at his church.

    • PM

      A clarification – I am not much of a musician myself, but have musician friends who have been victims of ‘inclusivist’ ostracism.

      I fear my original comment may have been a little bilious and negative. So, in the spirit of the Chinese proverb ‘Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness’, I should like to draw readers’ attention to the liturgical music scholarships offered by St Francis of Assisi parish in Paddington, Sydney (donations of course welcome! ). I leave it to Melburnians to identify anything similar south of the Yarra.

      In the light of Sacramentum Caritatis, shouldn’t bishops and dioceses be doing something similar?

  9. David,

    While I consider your response, let’s set aside once and for all the old canard that Lutherans do not believe in the communion of saints, including that the saints in heaven intercede for the church. That is not in dispute here. What is in dispute is whether we should pray to the saints in heaven to intercede for us.

    I appreciate your expression of the communion of saints as a living reality, it is much the same as mine, and is a reality that I ‘experience’, if you will, every time I preside at the Lord’s Supper. But I cannot join you in requesting the saints in heaven to pray for us without a command or promise attached from God. I regard it as safer to ask Jesus to pray for us, even though I mostly prefer to pray to the Father through Jesus.

    I’m not sure if I would give the weight that you do to the historical precedent for this manner of praying, and extend it to the point of saying that we should not pray to Jesus. For one thing, I’m not convinced that there is no historical precedent for praying *to* Jesus, either in scripture or the liturgical tradition (Lord, have mercy; My Lord and My God; etc); and secondly even if this were the case, that would not mean that praying to Jesus is not a valid logical deduction from the fact that Jesus is our High Priest & Intercessor. (Btw, if your argument was valid, wouldn’t that mean we would have to delete the ancient prayers to the Holy Spirit from the tradition?)

    I know you think that this point is decisive, because you think that once one admits this prayers to the Virgin, et al, follow, but I truly think your case is not strong enough, or at the very least, not strong enough to convicen me! ;0)

    I think this really gets back to the weight, or rather, the authority, that RCs give to historical tradition, so we are back at the Roman “and”, aren’t we? Yes, we know that prayers to the saints appear early in the history, but that is not decisive, for mere historical precedent cannot establish a doctrine, or a facet of a doctrine. There must be a scriptural basis. This is not only good theology, it is good liturgical theology.

    I think there’s a deeper issue here too David, and that is the dogmatic structure of RC’ism and the dogmatic structure of Luth’ism. We can go around in circles for a long time on these issues, but to progress I think we really need to look at the foundational ways of thinking behind each system or tradition. Does that make sense? I think Barth may have been on to something in this area with his protest against the RC analogy of being, although I’m not sure I would put it as he did.

    • Okay, I can see that my brilliant logic is not quite shining with the natural clarity I thought it had, nor producing the instant illumination I expected it would.

      As you point out, both Lutherans and Catholics share a belief in the communion of saints and that the saints intercede for us. This is not in dispute. But the practice of asking the saints to intercede for us is in dispute, which points to a difference in the way we understand the communion of saints – or at least in what implications we draw from that doctrine.

      Let me compare this to our doctrine of Jesus’ intercession for us before the throne of the Father. This doctrine also is shared and not in dispute. It has strong biblical basis. Neither is it in dispute between us that we may pray to Jesus – however, this specific practice, as I have pointed out, does not have a strong biblical basis – there is no command to pray to Jesus, no promises attached to prayer to Jesus, and, as far as I can work out, only one instance of direct prayer to Jesus in the NT. The practice of prayer to Jesus is, rather, based on early devotionl practice and derived from the doctrine of Christ’s divinity.

      So my point is:

      Why do you demand “a command or promise attached [to the invocation of saints] from God” when you do not require such a command or promise in regard to prayer to Jesus? You say “I regard it as safer to ask Jesus to pray for us” – and I ask “Why?” It cannot be “because there is a command or promise attached from God”, because there isn’t one – not in Scripture, anyway, which is (I think) the only source you will allow for knowing the will of God. You appear to reply “[because] praying to Jesus is…a valid logical deduction from the fact that Jesus is our High Priest & Intercessor”. But if you are able to make the logical deduction from “the fact that Jesus is our High Priest and Intercessor” to the practice of praying to Jesus, why are you not able to make exactly the same “valid logical deduction” from the fact that (as we have established both Lutherans and Catholics agree) the saints are our intercessors in heaven?

      What this boils down to is that you believe the theological basis for prayer to Jesus is stronger than the theological basis for asking the saints to intercede for us. I am willing to grant that argument (the fact of Jesus’ divinity comes into it as well), BUT the fact is that both conclusions (to pray to Jesus, to ask the saints to intercede for us) are derived by the same theological method. If it is valid in one case, it is valid in the other. If it is invalid in one case, it is invalid in the other.

      I am not wanting to discredit prayers to Jesus and the Holy Spirit – although I would argue that rejecting the intercession of the Saints because there is “no Scriptural promise, command, precedent” would logically require at least questioning the practice of prayer to Jesus or the Holy Spirit on the same basis. Rather, I am trying to show that the way at which we arrive at certainty of conscience in the matter of prayer to the saints is exactly the same method and basis by which we arrive at certainty of conscience about prayer to Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I am trying to encourage you to accept the practice of prayer to the saints, not to reject the practice of prayer to Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

      So, when you say:

      I’m not sure if I would give the weight that you do to the historical precedent for this manner of praying, and extend it to the point of saying that we should not pray to Jesus. For one thing, I’m not convinced that there is no historical precedent for praying *to* Jesus, either in scripture or the liturgical tradition (Lord, have mercy; My Lord and My God; etc);

      I think you are still misunderstanding me. Of course there is historical precedent for praying to Jesus. MASSIVE historical precedent. My finer point here, which you have not appreciated, is that there is NO historical precedent for using the specific phrase “pray for us” addressed to Jesus. The phrase most commonly used is, as you point out, “Kyrie, eleison”. (“My Lord and my God” is what we would call an acclamation, rather than a prayer). And of course, this derives from the Gospels – and although I think it is natural for us to conclude that the Gospel writers wanted to encourage us to use this phrase in our prayer to the exalted Jesus, that is not explicitly said. The Gospel “kyries” are addressed to the earthly Jesus, not the exalted Christ. It is the later tradition that attaches liturgical significance to these passages of the Gospels (although again, I am quite open to the idea that the Gospel stories of people crying out “kyrie eleison” were included by the authors to give basis to liturgical practice that had already developed in the apostolic church).

      I don’t think you can just wriggle out of this argument by claiming a difference between Lutheran and Catholic ways of doing theology. Denominationalism or confessionalism should not come into it. Either a method is a valid way of doing theology or not. Either something is true or it is not. Understanding our different traditional ways of doing theology might help understanding where we are at right now, but is not an excuse for not attempting at working together towards a true theological method and toward true theological conclusions together.

      In this case, I summarise my argument:

      1) Jesus is our Intercessor in heaven; so are the saints.
      2) There is no scriptural command, promise or precedent for asking the saints to intercede for us; there is also no scriptural command, promise or precedent (okay, there is one precedent) for praying to Jesus.
      3) The practice of asking the saints to pray for us arose in the very early Church and has been consistently upheld by the Church ever since; the practice of prayer to Jesus also arose in the very early Church and has been upheld consitently by the Church ever since (though he is never asked to “pray for us”).

      Therefore, why do Lutherans reject the one practice while upholding the other?

      • Jon Edwards

        “[T]here is also no scriptural command, promise or precedent (okay, there is one precedent) for praying to Jesus.”

        Implicit in this assertion is the equation of the God of Jacob with the First Person of the Trinity. If the God of Jacob is simply the Triune God (albeit not fully revealed in OT times) then ALL the commands, promises, and precedent in the OT for prayer to the God of Jacob apply to Jesus, one of the Persons of the Trinity.

        • I agree, Jon, that this would make a theological case for praying to the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, but that depends on a whole lot of other theological conclusions prior to this one. Prayer to the Saints also relies upon a whole sequence of theological conclusions. The Lutherans appear to require a “command, promise or precedent” pure and simple in order to demonstrate that prayer to the Saints is “scriptural”, but seem to waive this requirement in regard to prayer to Jesus. My point is NOT that the practices of praying to Jesus/Saints are unscriptural, but that the scriptures do not contain explicit “commands, promises or precedents” for this kind of prayer. Rather both practices are based on the kind of theological method that you suggest in your comment.

  10. A thought, in the form of a question:
    Can we know God’s will apart from his revelation of it in holy scripture?

    It seems to me Roman Catholcism answers “Yes”, while Lutheran theology answers “No”.

    We might qualify those answers, for e.g. Lutheran theology posits a ‘real’ knowledge of God and his will apart from his revelation, but only as the Unknown God who terrifies the conscience o fthe sinner through his Law. And Roman Catholicism will posit that tradition and scripture both flow from the same source. But, these qualifications do not alter the basic differences in this ‘starting poisition’ from which dogma, doctrine, theology church life and piety proceed.

  11. David,

    When you get time to respond, I wonder if you could unpack further this phrase “I am saying that we justify the practice based on a theology of the divinity of Jesus as the Son of God, a theology that was worked out (speculated?) after the completion of the Scriptural writings.”
    I want to be sure I understand what you mean before responding epcifically to this. Thanks!

    You also wrote, “Just another “tradition” that Protestants have not rejected, and which a strictly “sola scriptura” approach should reject.”
    Respectfully, I think you are working with a caricature of sola scriptura here; as I have written before, the Lutheran position is sola scriptura, not solo scriptura. It is not helpful to dialogue to fail to take the dialogue partner at face value and to caricature his position.

    • I take what you mean about a caricature. But in fact your rejection of the invocation of saints can only be justified on the basis of such a caricature. It is a classic case of solo scriptura instead of sola scriptura. I have a high view of scripture (just as the Church does) but does it not seem odd to you that all the Church Fathers whom you quote on you Lutheran Catholicity blog as supporting sola scriptura also supported and practiced the invocation of saints? So they saw no contradiction. How do you de with the fact that by rejecting the invocation of saints, the Lutheran Church introduced a real novelty into the Christian Faith?

      As for “I am saying that we justify the practice based on a theology of the divinity of Jesus as the Son of God, a theology that was worked out (speculated?) after the completion of the Scriptural writings”, all I meant is that we use the method of theological reflecton to derive scriptural justification for prayer to Jesus, since (except the one single precedent which I have already acknowledged) there are no explicit “commands, promises or precedents” concerning praying to Jesus in the NT. And if theological reflection is sufficient to establish the validity of prayer to Jesus, why do we ask for explicit “commands, promises, or precedents” in relation to prayer for the Saints?

  12. Sue

    Despite all of this, the music still sounded pretty damn good 🙂

  13. Christine

    This arises from a point which Lutherans constatly miss about the Catholic practice of invoking Mary’s prayers. They say we treat her like God, because you can only pray to God. In fact, what we are doing when we invoke the sants is asking our brothers and sisters in Christ (living or dead) to “pray for us” THROUGH the mediatorship of Christ.

    No, we maintain that Mary and the saints are not capable of hearing millions of prayers simultaneously, that that kind of omniscience is particular to God alone, and that since Jesus is fully God and Man to whom all power in heaven and on earth has been given, we can’t imagine going anywhere but to Him with our needs and burdens. Because He IS fully both, it is almost self-evident that if people could approach Him while He walked this earth then they can certainly pray to Him now that He is again exalted in heaven.

    To say that because the saints now live in eternity they have the capacity to hear our prayers begs the question of “who says so?”

    As for your Christmas Mass, David, I am sincerely sorry that it came up a bit short but I can’t say I am surprised. The situation is much the same over here.

  14. Thanks for your responses, David.
    I can’t engage much with them at the moment as it’s 37C and I’m in the midst of packing. I hope to get back to you in the next week or so.

    • PM

      I wouldn’t claim enough knowledge of Lutheran doctrine to wade into this exchange with any confidence.

      But, perhaps being a bit naive, I was struck by Mark’s statment that ‘I cannot join you in requesting the saints in heaven to pray for us without a command or promise attached from God.’

      If one holds that view, I can see no logical reason for not applying it also to fellow believers who are still here on earth. To be consistent, would you never ask fellow believers to pray for you or others, and would you decline their offers to do so? The whole point of the communion of saints is that the koinonia is not limited to those alive now, or whose company we now find congenial – indeed we are just as much united with those who have gone before us as we are with the person next to us in (that modern invention) the pew.