“The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.” Revelation 22:17
My daughter, Brittany’s, wedding in June of 2010 was an incredible experience. As most women have done, Brittany had been making plans and thinking of this day for a good part of her life. Through the years she envisioned her dress, the ceremony, the food at the reception and – most of all – the man who would be standing at her side on that special day.
Interestingly enough, some things she thought about her wedding actually played out as she had always anticipated. Also interesting was the fact that there were unexpected surprises that she never could have anticipated. Regardless of these things, the day arrived, and it was glorious beyond our imaginations.
In the case of my daughter’s wedding, there were many pre-conceived notions of what would take place, how the day would play out, and various details of the event. One thing was always certain – the groom would be there. However, as long as Brittany dated Josh (her husband), her knowledge of him and who he was could never be fully realized until they were brought together as husband and wife.
The church is Christ’s bride – those of us who have looked forward with great anticipation to the consummation of our relationship with our Savior. We have anticipated with rapt enthusiasm the time when Christ comes to take us home – that wedding ceremony. I’m sure there are expectations that will be met – most certainly exceeded. I’m also sure the events of the day will hold many surprises. After all, who can possibly understand the fullness of God and the entirety of His plans?
In a wide view of the book of Revelation, I believe, in the end, the main theme is worship. True worship vs. false worship. Worship of Christ vs. worship of ourselves. There’s a lot of imagery and a lot of poetry. Many have attempted to decipher the prophecies in order to understand end time events. Though intriguing and challenging, it would be a shame to miss what is, in my opinion, the greatest message held in this book: Jesus is our Creator, our Redeemer, and the only One worthy of our worship. Just as the details of Brittany’s wedding would mean nothing without the relationship between her and Josh, the study of prophecy and end time events means nothing if our focus strays from the true message of the book – the Revelation of Jesus.
I read an article recently which pointed out that the book of Revelation is, in fact, the Revelation of Jesus – not the Revelations of Jesus. This is a huge distinction in understanding the purpose of this book. “Revelations of Jesus” (plural) would suggest that the book is filled with things we need to know – important information, facts, or “truths.” “Revelation of Jesus,” on the other hand, clearly indicates the purpose of the writings are to fully reveal the One we need to know - the Person/God/Savior who is Jesus. End of sentence.
If this is true – and I believe it is – then how we understand references of worship in Revelation is all about the clarity in which we view our Savior and whether we are worshipping Him or something/someone else.
Much has been written and discussed regarding true vs. false worship in our world today. The concept of authentic worship gets muddied in our battles over worship styles and preferences. Revelation cuts through all that. It leaves behind the minutia of our squabbling and confronts us with the real question. It’s not about how you’re conducting your worship but who you’re worshipping.
I believe our God is a jealous God. His desire is for His bride, and His rightful expectation is that His bride’s desire is genuinely and completely for Him. Worship in Revelation is about God’s people being completely and utterly sold out to Him and Him alone. It can’t be worship of Jesus . . . and, or Jesus . . . but. It has to be worship of Jesus alone. We’ve got to leave everything else behind. This is not comfortable or complacent worship. This is dangerous worship – dangerous because it can’t help but shake our world and alter what is normal in our lives.
“Worship names what matters most: the way human beings are created to reflect God’s glory by embodying God’s character in lives that seek righteousness and do justice. Such comprehensive worship redefines all we call ordinary. Worship turns out to be the dangerous act of waking up to God and to the purposes of God in the world, and then living lives that actually show it.”
“If we are committed to protecting who and what we are now, then our greatest need and greatest danger will be in meeting God. Of course, this is also our only hope. This is the wake-up call we may not want, but it alone leads us to new life. Becoming new will complicate our lives. Whether in the power of the whirlwind or in the still small voice of the Spirit, meeting God is no small incident.” The Dangerous Act of Worship – Mark Labberton
I believe we need to practice this kind of worship now. Revelation-style worship is worshipping with the realization that worship is all we’ve got left. It’s what gives us life and breath and hope and joy. It’s worship in desperation for our Savior, for His grace, mercy, and peace. It’s setting aside all those things that have bound us in the past and falling deeply and hopelessly in love with the One who redeems and saves. It’s complete vulnerability, the raw exposure of ourselves with the unwavering assurance that the righteousness of Christ is the only thing that can cover us and make us whole.
Worship Director, Florida Hospital Church
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/3417