The functions of the Church have been variously defined as teaching, fellowship, outreach and worship (Acts2:42-47). Of these important functions, honoring God through worship is the Church’s primary function, because it is our eternal vocation.
After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.
And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”
And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”
Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”
Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”
And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
Revelation 4 and 5 (ESV)
The woman said to Jesus, "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship."Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things." Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am he."
John 4:19- 26 (ESV)
A thought for today:
As children brought forth into existence by our father’s divine Will, we tend to walk through our daily lives oblivious to this core truth. This lack of concern is our core spiritual/soul trauma that we’ve become generationally attuned to.
Accustomed to this detached state, we walk oblivious to the awe-inspiring attributes of our creator. Every now and then we reflect on one of God’s attributes like wisdom, mercy, grace, love, truth and so forth…yet his all-encompassing quality and essence: his Holiness, mostly remains elusive.
Revelation 4 reveals his Holiness which is pregnant with bright life and abundance, it is soul-piercing yet gentle, overpowering yet soothing at the same time. It is inevitable that any serious reflection on the true nature of God as an exalted being will invoke our unworthiness and insignificance in comparison. It doesn’t logically follow that we ought to feel less about ourselves. That would be a cop out, a condemnation of God’s Will for us.
Our soul should be prompted, stirred to seek the Lord in worship and to cultivate it as our primary vocation in life. Exalting God’s true greatness and power, His Holiness is an inevitability of our eternal destiny.
God seeks to receive glory and honor from his highest creation, to possess and rightfully claim that which belongs to him. Our Father, the source of all, created everything for his pleasure. We should be drawn to exalt and praise his generosity, knowing well that seeking selfish pleasures instead will only lessen our joy.
Why then do we evade Worship? Perhaps we intuitively feel the hurdles that may lie on this path. Let’s try to address them.
Genuine worship requires cultivating a genuine desire that inspires awe for his Holy nature. Our desire for autonomy has to cease. Faced with his Absolute Purity, when shame gets activated, it will have to be exposed and faced through meekness and humility.
Throughout this process God’s Grace will gradually resolve these tensions within our soul and provide us with strength and comfort along the way. We ought to be resolute on the path of Worship which is both truthfully and rightfully ours to choose and own.
Let us take a small step today, for God always draws us near in-spite of our fear and shame. To him be the glory, the one who was, who is and who is to come. Amen!
by Ballie Hanjra’