Third Sunday of Easter (April 10, 2016)
- First reading
- Second reading
Revelation 5:11-14 | New Living Translation (NLT)
Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. And they sang in a mighty chorus:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered—
to receive power and riches
and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and blessing.”
And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang:
“Blessing and honor and glory and power
belong to the one sitting on the throne
and to the Lamb forever and ever.”
And the four living beings said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped the Lamb.
Today’s passage looks at one of the many “hymn” or song of praises that are scattered throughout the book of Revelation. One of the things that we learn about in this passage and others that are in Revelation is that the worship of God Almighty is continuous. Worship is always going on in heaven. The elders and creatures are always worshiping God the Father Almighty at all times. What I also find interesting here is that the songs (at least the lyrics are similar – and they don’t change much.)
I’m not into “vain” repetition anymore than the next person, but I really wonder if those who say singing a phrase over and over again have ever read the words, “Day and night, night and day, they never stop singing, ‘holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, who is, and who is to come.” That’s seventeen words and they sing them over and over and over and (you get the point) over again.
In our finite minds, it is really tough to get a picture of what all this looks and sounds like. Of course it’s loud – in my own mind – loud like a symphony orchestra loud. If you’ve never sung with a symphony orchestra – you don’t know what I mean. Many years ago I had the opportunity to sing with my college choir – there were about 300 voices in the choir as we sang the final movement of Beethoven’s 9th symphony. Talk about beautiful – but very loud. Or how about pipe organ loud. I have had several occasions to hear a great pipe organ, played by a great player – anyone who thinks organs are wimpy instruments have never heard them played properly.
Despite the loudness of the worship in heaven – it will immediately draw you in – you will want to worship – because of the subject matter of the worship – it will be a song that is instantly recognizable – even if you’ve never sang it.
The book of Revelation, is a book about Jesus – Jesus is the subject of worship in heaven. Today we learn about the Lamb that was slain. I love the song “Revelation Song” because it takes this passage and puts it into today’s language and music. There are a few times in my 50 years that I have seen a bit of heaven on earth – there have been a few times in my life that I was in one of those “thin” places – it was almost as heaven touched earth – it’s a crazy time to be leading worship. One of those times was while leading worship for youth camp up in West Chazy, NY. I was leading worship with one of our college worship bands. We were singing “Hungry.” There was a point in the song, where I was driven to my knees by the presence of God. This has happened at other times where the presence of God was so thick it was tough to stand. I’ve seen some during those times, lie prostrate on the ground. The presence of God is like that – it is strong and mighty.
When we think about Jesus – and the price that was paid for our sin – that he is the Lamb – Worthy to take away the sins of the world, do we have any other option but to worship? That’s the question I want you to ponder as we head into the weekend. The Lamb who was slain – is risen again and now sits on the right hand of God the Father – He sits on the throne and He is worthy of our praise.