Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
When the world is too much with me, I know that it is time for me to worship. When I am agitated by world news, and filled with memories of 9/11, I know my increased need to seek God’s presence. In this, I find the old catechism true: “Our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” That’s why God made us and the why we are here: to worship. That’s where we experience life’s fulfillment, both here and in heaven!
So, when we are troubled by life events, worship is God’s intended way for us to see life more clearly, and to put world news in perspective. This is what pastor and theologian Eugene Peterson is talking about when he notes: “In a world in which we are constantly subjected to dizzying disorientations, worship is the act in which we are reoriented.” (Eugene Peterson, Reversed Thunder) Worship wondrously gives us new understanding of God, of others, and ourselves. Theologian Karl Barth called Christian worship “the most momentous, the most urgent, the most glorious action that can take place in human life.” (Karl Barth, Worship: It’s Theology and Practice).
While people often turn to the Bible’s last book, “Revelation”, for exploring prophecy, I like to go there for worship. What the Book of Psalms is for the Old Testament, the Book of Revelation is for the New Testament. It is a book intended to encourage and teach worship. The book’s full title is “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:1), and is thus a revelation both given “by” Jesus and “about” the glories of Jesus. No follower of Jesus can turn to the book and not be moved to worship our Savior. It is a book that calms and encourages us to read all of history in the light of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
While the prose sections of the Book of Revelation can be challenging, its many songs are clear and easily understood; they are about worship. The songs give us a ‘behind-the scenes’, ‘rest of the story’ look at today’s news. These songs have inspired some of the world’s greatest music and art.
Today’s scripture, or worship song, is taken from the opening lines of Revelation, as the apostle John cannot contain himself, but bursts into a worship song. His song is a “doxology”, a word taken from the Greek word for glory, doxa, as John ascribes glory to Jesus for what He has done: “to him be glory.” You will find the New Testament filled with doxologies stirring believers to worship (e.g., Romans 11:36; Galatians 1:5; Philippians 4:20; Hebrews 13:21; 1 Peter 4:11; Revelation 4:11; 5:13; 7:12). The purpose of any study of Revelation is worship: to Jesus be the glory!
In this first doxology of the Book of Revelation we are moved to worship Jesus because He “loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” John himself had stood before Jesus’ cross and heard Jesus’ announcement of victory: “It is finished!” (John 19:30). His redeeming work is finished! Accomplished. Completed! To Him be the glory for putting us right with God!
And in putting us right with God, Jesus has “made us kings and priests unto God and his Father.” This worship song praises Jesus because we will forever reign with Him and grow in knowing His Father as our Father. These are wonders beyond comprehension that we can experience more and more as we worship! And Jesus has not only made us “kings” to reign with Him, but has made us “priests” to represent Him to the world and the world to Him!
Mark Twain said that the two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why. This is the “why” of our lives, of our existence: worship now and forever and ever! Why not step away from the screen for a while, from the task at hand, and ask the Holy Spirit to help and guide you as you worship.
A fellow traveler,