We got the chance to hear a great sermon from Nate at the church yesterday. He spoke on Revelation 1:9-20. The main point was that we are changed by gazing steadily on the glory of Christ. In this passage John describes the beginning of his vision that was a revelation of Christ to the seven churches of Asia. It was encouraging to hear about the glory of Christ. As we look on Him we are struck dead and renewed through His Spirit. He is the one we turn to for wisdom and rely upon for deliverance and judgment. He is the one we seek to emulate in our lives. He is the one whose words are a sharp two-edged sword that divides between bone and marrow and soul and spirit yet bring life in obedience. He is the one whose eyes see straight to the heart and see both the good and the sin that lives there. He is the first and the last, and the author and finisher of our faith. It was especially inspiring to hear how He will meet and renew us in our worship.
During the communion time we sang Ryan Flanigan's song, "Up from the fall". As I broke the bread and repeated to myself the words "On the night in which Jesus was betrayed" and thought how I had betrayed Him I also remembered the words of the Eastern Orthodox communion liturgy "Or rather, the night in which He gave Himself for us all." As I thought that, the worship team sang the words "I have nothing to give to you, but Jesus came and He gave it all." I was struck by how I truly have nothing to offer God but what He has first given me. Then as I reflected on the cup and the words, "This is my blood of the new covenant poured out for the forgiveness of sins," the worship team finished the verse of the song, "He takes our blame and up from the fall we rise in Christ." Somehow I felt Jesus inviting me to drink up, to drink a cup of joy and celebration like a shot at a party. Instead of drinking as repentance it became a drink of affirmation of the pure, new life in Him.
The remainder of our worship continued in that vein, alternating joy and repentance with words from Lord calling us to enter deeper into worship and expect His presence among us. We ended with a call for all who wished to come and pray for a renewal of His presence in our church. We prayed for another half hour after the service. It was a great morning.
"And all of us have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect His glory even more." 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT)