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Saturday, April 25, 2015

May 2015

Our study of the book of Revelation has really caught me by surprise. As we began our study, I thought we'd be digging deeper and deeper into pictures of the end times, gaining deeper insight into the way the New Testament authors understood the Old Testament, and seeing Jesus in ways we weren't expecting.  Though all of this has happened, what I wasn't expecting is how much this book would reveal about worship! For me, John's letter, with all of its obscure imagery and difficult language, has both clarified and enriched my understanding of what exactly we are doing when we come to church on Sunday morning.

Throughout the book we are given glimpses of the saints, both on earth and in heaven, and the angels gathering around the heavenly throne to sing praises to God our Father and the Lamb, Jesus Christ.  They praise God for creating this world. They praise the Lamb for coming to die for our sins and purchase us with His blood. We see the saints crying out for justice and mercy. We see God answering these prayers in great and terrifying ways. And, as we were reading these texts, it struck me: They are singing the same words we sing on Sunday morning! It floored me!

Think about this: When we gather here to worship on Sunday, we aren't just coming in to church To do our "God-time" and to pay our "God-tax" in an effort to avoid guilt trips from the pastor. No. On Sunday, we believe that the Father and His Lamb come to us by the power of the Holy Spirit who is at work in the Word of God. We literally come into the presence of God to join in the heavenly chorus of all the saints and all the angels in singing praise to our God and Savior. The Holy Spirit gives us a seat among those who have gone before us in the faith, the holy angles, and the church throughout the world.  Here He gives us songs of praise to sing to our God and Savior. God inclines His ear towards us as we pray for one another. The Lamb who was slain and is risen (indeed!) presents Himself to feed us with His body and blood and absolve (forgive) us with His Word. When we gather around the word of God in this way, because of Christ's blood shed for us, we are counted among those saints and angels who have access to the throne room of heaven!

That is why much of the language we use in the service is drawn from Revelation. It is not that some guys in the early church were sitting around and thought it would be cool to sing Bible verses on Sunday mornings. Rather, when we sing songs that come from the Word of God, we are confessing that we believe we are united with those who sing the same songs in the presence of God because we are in the same presence of God. We are not just singing about and talking about God on Sunday mornings.  We are encountering His real presence and joining our voices to the great heavenly choir. In this way, it is a major part of what we mean when we confess we believe in the communion of saints.

This is the great joy of our Sunday morning worship services. God promises to meet us here in His Word and in His sacraments to give us forgiveness, life, and salvation. He comes to meet us with His Word to strengthen us and sustain us in our faith. He comes, as we say, to carry us into life everlasting!  Who knew Revelation would reveal something so awesome? See you Sunday!

Pastor Bob

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Faith Lutheran Church • 123 Park Lane • Moorpark, CA 93021 • (805) 532 1049 • Send Email