Heavenly Worship

May 1st, 2011
Photo © by QuesterMark | Flickr | Used under Creative Commons license.

Revelation 4:1-2, 6b-11
British monarchs have been crowned at Westminster Abbey since 1066. Thirty-eight coronations have been held there, and many royal weddings as well. Of course, the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton has dominated the news and gossip columns for months. When Kate took her last stroll as a single woman up the aisle of this historic church, she walked past priceless paintings, sculptures, and the tombs of former king and queens. This house of worship is filled with the gilded tombs of some of England’s most famous and influential people, like Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens, and George Frederic Handel. Dr. Tony Trowles, Head of Collections at the Abbey, stated that there has been a church of some sort on this spot since 960.

This amazing place of British history is, ultimately, a place of worship. As citizens of the United States we may find it hard to appreciate the interrelatedness of the church and the state in England, but these two parts are woven together seamlessly at Westminster Abbey. It is truly a place of wonder, given all the sights and all the historic personages who are resting there. The apostle John saw something much more amazing in the visions that Jesus Christ gave him of heaven and what worship was like in the very presence of God. The multiwinged, many-eyed creatures that offer up worship to God may be confusing to us, but God doesn’t seem to have a problem with them. However we best understand worship---quiet, reflective, loud, active, or somewhere in between---we need to be ready for something new in heaven. Since we are not there yet, enjoying our citizenship, it’s hard for us to comprehend it; but one day we too shall cry out, "You are worthy, our Lord and God, / to receive glory and honor and power" (Revelation 4:11).

  1. Time for honesty. How much coverage of the royal wedding have you watched? What do you think draws people, especially Americans, to such events?
  2. What do you think it is like to worship on a regular Sunday morning in Westminster Abbey? Do you think it is something you would want to try once? Do you think you would enjoy it if it was your church? What makes you say that? 
  3. Why do you think God chose to reveal these creatures to John? What do you think they represent? Are there really creatures like this in heaven?

Reverend Lou Hornberger is the pastor of Salem United Methodist Church in Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania.

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