Revelation 4:1-11 (NRSV)
By John Grimm
There is much in Revelation that people find confusing. There are how many sevens? There are how many cities? When does this thing called “tribulation” begin? Yet, one central part of Revelation does not cause confusion.
We are to worship God!
The living creatures that are attending to God are worshiping God. We also see a refrain from the twenty-four elders. The point and counterpoint help us to recognize that heaven and earth can (and do) worship God. This worship happens together.
The living creatures are spelling out who they see and what they understand about the Lord:
1.) Holy – repeated three times to show how perfectly true and gracious God is.
2.) The Lord God the Almighty – an Old Testament name which describes all that God is – sovereign, divine, and having all strength.
3.) Who was, and is, and is to come – God is before us, is with us, and will come to live within a renewed creation.
The refrain has people from earth repeating these themes from their perspective:
1.) Worthy – for there is no other creature or any part of creation who can receive glory, honor, and praise.
2.) Our Lord and God created all – he was before all created things, and he made all created things to be created.
Yes, these accolades for God in Revelation 4 are all true! Though we see John’s apocalyptic vision as happening in the future, what is stopping us from worshiping God now? Can we worship God for the reasons the living creatures and the twenty-four elders do? Will we worship God and speak with our own voices how worthy the Lord is?
Lord God the Almighty, what a vision of worship as it can be. Even today we realize we can give you all glory, honor, and praise. Help our generation to know you through our worship of you. In the name of Jesus Christ, we thank you for the time to worship you now, even though we do not understand everything going on around us, or in the Revelation of John. Holy Spirit, thank you for John’s vision. Amen.