As we turn toward the Service of the Sacrament, we re-begin in a way with words of greeting as the pastor says:
And the congregation responds:
These words stand as a foreshadowing of what is about to happen. The Lord is coming down to be with us. The Lord is coming down to be truly present in bread and wine. The Lord is coming down to forgive our sins in His holy Supper.
Of course, the Star Wars franchise has stolen this sentiment as people are always saying, "The Force be with you." But notice it is said almost entirely as a goodbye in that world. It is a blessing, a benediction.
As we say "The Lord be with you" we are not offering a mere wish, some superstitious expression of protection. We are saying something very real. We are speaking to a personal God on behalf of other people, asking this personal God to be with and dwell with others.
The impersonal Force of Star Wars is nothing compared to the personal God who came down from heaven and was incarnate for us. He lived among us, healed us, proclaimed good news to us. He suffered and died for us. And He is risen from the dead and ascended on high for us. He promised after His resurrection and before His ascension to always be with us. Our proclamation of "The Lord be with you" is not a wish. It is a reminder that this is reality. The Lord is with you. And soon within the service He will come to be with you in a real and tangible way as we eat His body and drink His blood.