Heaven and Earth will pass away  (Mat. 24:35)

For many of us the altar is not only a familiar spot, but also a place that pulls us with an astonishing power of attraction.  One of our churchgoers once said: I don’t understand what goes on at the altar at all, but my feet bring me there every time again.  What makes the altar a place that irresistibly attracts us?

When you realize that for dozens of years countless people have made countless offerings here, week in week out, you begin to understand why this spot has such a power of attraction.  For as soon as we make our little offering, the offerings of our predecessors are also evoked—from all true Christians, from all who have died, from all who had not yet Christ.  At the altar all sacrificial capacity is bundled, from the visible and the invisible congregation.

A saying from Greek antiquity expresses this in the words: Stronger than an impregnable fortress is an altar.  Of course, one did not mean the stone or wooden altar that sooner or later will decay, but what happens at the altar.  What is it that makes the altar an impregnable fortress armed against all attacks of the adversary powers?

It is our offerings, which are justified before God.  Even though sometimes we have no more to give than our deficient thoughts, our imperfect love, our weak will power—it is irradiated by the offerings of our predecessors, but even more by the Christ sacrifice, which He brings for us to the end of the world.  And also when every altar and every temple, also when heaven and earth have passed away, as an impregnable fortress our offering continues to exist.


Rev. Bastiaan Baan, December 10, 2023