Across Revelation 4 and 5, we are given a most unique picture of the throne of God and its surroundings. The imagery is exquisite in description and it’s all connected back to how the prophets of old had described it – particularly Ezekiel (see Ezekiel 1). However, the interesting thing to note in John’s vision in Revelation is that, in chapter 5, we are now told that there is a Lamb. The scenery has changed just a bit. Continue reading
You might have heard this narrative taught before: Satan was an exceptional angelic being who once was only second to God himself. Even more, in his angelic role, he was the great worship leader of heaven. Unfortunately, due to a swelling of pride, he desired to rise up and be exalted over all, even organizing an attempt at usurping the throne of God. Thus, he lost his place in heaven, along with a third of the other angels who joined his side, with them all being hurled from heaven to earth.
That’s the general framework of the story we’re taught.
But is this the best storyline for Satan? And was he actually the great heavenly worship leader so many imagine? Continue reading
Worship is to come from our lives, not just in song. We know Rom 12:1-2 tells us this. Or it reminds us that the presenting of our bodies as living sacrifices is our logikēn latreian (‘reasonable service’). This word latreian is regularly translated as ‘worship’ because it’s related to the role of the priests in the temple. They served and worshipped God in all they did.
But a new temple has now been formed in Jesus Christ, one being made of living stones, and we are called to offer our reasonable service-worship through the sacrifice of ourselves.
Of course, I believe the fuller concept gets lost a bit in the individualized proclamation of this passage. Instead, what we have here is a proclamation to the community of God’s people in Rome that they might together offer their lives as a sacrifice, which was their reasonable service-worship together.
And we must not forget that one of the great ways to keep the community on the path of being living sacrifices together is through the gathered worship, in all its various formats. It’s not only in this form – but if we remember the collective focus of scripture, then we’ll want to gather together to express our worship-service to God.
And so, this past weekend, our church community gathered together to sing and dance, kneel and pray, offer artistic expressions and read scripture, share communion and word, and much more. Here is a short video summary of that time. Continue reading
I’ve mentioned a few times my appreciation of philosopher-theologian, James K.A. Smith (or Jamie Smith). His book on understanding the positives (yes, the positives!) of postmodernism, Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism, was my introduction to his books. And I’m currently reading his work, Desiring the Kingdom.
I was recently reminded of an article of Smith’s posted 15 months ago entitled, An Open Letter to Praise Bands. This approach – An Open Letter to… – is not uncommon in the blogging world for those wanting to address a particular concern. And, so, Smith offered some reminders to worship teams, praise bands and musicians that might be worth considering as we, the corporate local church, gather together for worship. Continue reading
Sometimes I find that I’m not up on the newer songs of the day. That includes songs of worship and just ordinary songs.
And, so, I was recently introduced to a beautiful (no pun intended) song by Michael Gungor called Beautiful Things. It is most amazing!
The song and video are below. Continue reading