Worship in the Revelation
of heavenly worship. Today's WORSHIP QUOTE is the introductory page to Eugene
Peterson's version of the book of THE REVELATION as found in THE MESSAGE.
WORSHIP IN THE REVELATION
The Bible ends with a flourish: vision and song, doom and deliverance, terror
and triumph. The rush of color and sound, image and energy, leaves us
reeling. But if we persist through the initial confusion and read on, we
begin to pick up the rhythms, realize the connections, and find ourselves
enlisted as participants in the multidimensional act of Christian worship.
John of Patmos, a pastor of the late first century, has worship on his mind,
is preeminently concerned with worship. The vision which is THE REVELATION,
comes to him while he is at worship on a certain Sunday on the Mediterranean
island of Patmos. He is responsible for a certain circuit of churches on the
mainland whose primary task is worship. Worship shapes the human community in
response to the living God. If worship is neglected or perverted, our
communities fall into chaos or under tyranny.
Our times are not propitious for worship. The times never are. The world is
hostile to worship. The Devil hates worship. As THE REVELATION makes clear,
worship must be carried out under conditions decidedly uncongenial to it.
Some Christians even get killed because they worship.
John's REVELATION is not easy reading. Besides being a pastor, John is a
poet, fond of metaphor and symbol, image and allusion, passionate in his
desire to bring us into the presence of Jesus believing and adoring. But the
demands he makes on our intelligence and imagination are well rewarded, for
in keeping company with John, our worship of God will almost certainly deepen
in urgency and joy.
--- Eugene Peterson, Introduction to REVELATION, in THE MESSAGE: THE NEW
TESTAMENT IN CONTEMPORARY ENGLISH, NavPress, 1993.
Have a great week,
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary