The Church: Participation in Heaven on Earth

I cannot stop thinking about what I can only term “The Liturgy of Heaven.”

Revelation forms the greater part of the imagery, of this thought of mine, but other passages of the Bible and some of my experiences with Nature contribute.

I see all the angels and saints arrayed around the Throne, in the midst of which is the Slain and Victorious Lamb, before which is the sea of glass intermingled with fire. It is not, to me, mere imagery I read in a book: it is full of life and meaning. Even the sea of glass intermingled with fire means to me something which I have begun to know but cannot utter.

The angels unceasingly adore, ever crying their part in the worship to the King of kings. The saints cast their crowns upon the sea of light, crying their song of praise to the Redeemer who has purchased them with His blood and made them to be a kingdom and priests to His Father. The prayers of all the saints go up before the face of the Lord, in the likeness as of incense!

All creation adores, in an order which is life. No creature looks to itself, but each is the praise of the Creator and Re-Creator. The winds are the praises of angels and the throne of the Most High upon which He comes, through which He is revealed in His greatness, His power, and His mercy.

Revelation gives us a glimpse of what is the truth in creation and history, in every age, in every life. The assembly before the Throne of the Lamb is the reality, the substance, in every moment of earth. The Revelation is earth seen from Heaven – earth seen as we would see it if our eyes, too, were opened. Creation standing before the Lord, each creature singing the song appointed to that creature – the song which it was made to sing – and, in so doing, all singing one perfect song, one perfect harmony, is the truth. Every blowing of the wind, every chirruping of a bird, every suffering we bear, every kindness we show is in Heaven, is one note of the eternal song, one act of adoring love, ascending like incense before the Throne of the Trinity.

I want to stand among the host of Heaven, all the Holy Ones who do the Lord’s bidding and minister to Him. I want to take my place, to prostrate myself when it is my time to prostrate myself, to stand in silence where it is appointed to me to stand in silence, to sing the song He gives me to sing – the song He is teaching me to sing all through this life on earth, or is this life on earth one line, or one word, of that song, or are both these true? – to sing in unison the chorus of the Redeemed.

Then, all that is veiled here will be as bright as day. The Bridegroom Himself will lead His Bride – His Bride who is, at once, His whole Church, His Mystical Body, and each human soul baptized into His Body – to the Banquet He has laid out for her – the Banquet which He set when He died on Calvary, the Banquet which is His own Body and Blood, there broken and poured out to purchase her life.

The Redeemed follow the Lamb wherever He goes. He has wiped every tear from their eyes and led them to the water of life, so that they will thirst no more, nor will they hunger, neither will the sun scorch them, nor will they go weary, but they serve before Him day and night.

I wait for this. I long for it, oh so earnestly. Come soon, Lord Jesus!

Daily, this is my comfort: that, I am not, in fact, isolated from the community of Heaven. Each act of love, each offering of prayer, each suffering borne in Him, are participations in the Heavenly Worship, which I so long to enter fully! Yet, even now, I can stand on earth, and I can adore Him with the host of Heaven above, and with all who, likewise, adore Him on earth with the host of Heaven above. Through prayer – and, yes, through all my life – I can stand before Him in Heaven, bow down before Him, worship and adore, in unison with all the Heavenly Host which surrounds me and is all around me even on earth – for the Sun is His servant and the Stars worship Him, the Winds are His chariots, and the Birds and the Waters sing to Him. How may I know, but that the praises of angels and saints are embodied in this Nature and so reach me, that I, in their company, may worship Him, my praises melding with theirs, as the parts of a song?

 

Copyright 2019 Raina Nightingale

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