In early 2018, my brother Doug asked a question, and thus presented me with a vision – was I interested in a backpack trip in the Sierra Nevada mountains? I had long dreamed of that, and immediately said yes.
The vision became a reality some eighteen months later –thirty-five miles over five days – and the picture accompanying this post is posted on the wall of my home office. Our trek was wonderful and memorable, and I look forward to future trips like it.
Doug’s vision and my immediate interest was quickly followed by two questions I had to ask myself: Am I ready? What will it take for me to prepare?
The first question had a one-word answer: No! More than twenty years had passed since I had hoisted a pack onto my shoulders. But I purposefully prepared, obtaining the equipment, refreshing my knowledge, and building up my endurance.
A vision of heaven is given to us in the book of Revelation, with all living beings joined together in worship, singing: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” *
Are you interested in participating in this event? I’m guessing your answer is yes, especially considering the very unappealing alternative.
The same follow-up questions will provide for us some important reflections: Am I ready? What will it take for me to prepare?
Am I ready?
The question has two dimensions. The first one is a deeper topic by itself: am I ready to stand in the presence of God? I’ll give you a short answer: it depends on what you’re wearing.
Everyone who will participate in heaven’s worship services can say this: For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness. (Isaiah 61:10).
Those who are saved have humbly exchanged their own filthy rags for proper wedding clothes provided by Jesus. **
The second dimension is our present concern. Does my present engagement in worship resemble the actions of those gathered around the throne of God? Will it feel natural for me to begin to worship in heaven?
One of the themes for The Blue Spigot is that this life is a rehearsal for the life to come. So it is with worship – we learn on earth how to properly give God the worthy and honor that the King of Kings deserves.
That means getting better at doing something you already know how to do … but probably never thought about in terms of participating in a worship service.
Are you ready for this? I want to help you improve your kissing.
No, this is not some bizarre metaphor that I dreamed up. The primary word for worship in Greek, the original language of the New Testament, is proskuneo, which means “to kiss”. The magi at the manger in Matthew 2; the disciples before Jesus’ ascension to heaven in Matthew 28; the throng gathered around the throne of God in Revelation 5 – they all gave an outward expression of affection for Jesus in worshiping him.
Therefore, our worship services are meant to be PDA’s – public displays of affection, done communally by the people of God. If we stop kissing someone we love… well, try that one at home. The withholding of affection is bound to evoke a question – is everything okay?
Thus, we get ready to worship in heaven by learning to kiss God, engaging in it intentionally and thoughtfully.
But exactly how do we do that?
Stay tuned. Employing the acronym K.I.S.S., next week’s post will encourage four actions that will help us “ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name”. We will also address the second preparatory question – what will it take for me to get ready for heaven’s worship service?
Benediction of Blessing
May God give you the ability to see the biblical descriptions of worship in Revelation as visions of a reality that awaits you.
May God give you the courage to look honestly at your present worship patterns from Jesus’ perspective.
May you sense a compassionate smile on Jesus’ face as you ask him to help you learn to KISS him more thoughtfully.
* There are several depictions in Revelation of worship services in heaven, but the one in chapter 5 is the most compelling.
** This imagery is based on several passages: Revelation 19:6-9, Matthew 22:1-14, Isaiah 64:6, and Zechariah 3:1-7. There is no time like the present to make the exchange. Do not hesitate to face the reality of your need for this merciful gift.
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