Story in the Ceremony


After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever!

Amen.”

- Revelation 7:9-12


In this reading from the book of Revelation there is a vast multitude beyond number standing before God’s throne. This is a heavenly vision! We too are privileged as his people to gather before our God to serve him in worship! Over the next few months I would like to share with you a sort of miniseries on the message and the meaning of the actions we make in the service of God's worship. There is story in the ceremony!

When we gather, we firstly fall to our knees to confess our failings before him. We are after all, sinners in the presence of the only Savior. After the confession we hear the joyous announcement of pardon for sin that our Lord alone can give! So, there is a rhythm to our worship. We firstly bow low. Then, as we hear the declaration of God’s grace, we respond in giving him praise! Firstly we fall to our knees then we rise to our feet to sing the Song of the Angels; the Gloria in Excelsis!

Revelation records that before the throne the people sing, crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” I have heard it said that the earthly service of God’s worship is mere dress rehearsal for all that is to come! How true! We worship as we do in order to reflect the beauty and glory of Christ and his word, to have our minds set again on things above that we may respond to his word giving glory to our God! Let us then catch the heavenly vision this day! For, yes, there is story in the ceremony. There is a message and meaning to the actions that take place as we gather. Ultimately this story we share in the service is about God's glory we seek to share in his heavenly presence on that eternal day!

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Saint John Lutheran Church
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