Our Worship Team spends the first part of our Saturday morning rehearsals in the Word and prayer together. We are convinced that we need to be personally growing in our knowledge and love of God if we are to effectively lead the church family on Sundays. Last week we reflected on the opening hymn of that Sunday’s service, Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord God Almighty. We considered how it richly draws from the heavenly throne room pictured in Revelation 4, and spent time meditating on that chapter. We saw the first line of the hymn is taken directly from the worship cry of the four living creatures found in Revelation 4:8 – “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty!” We then spent time especially reflecting on the second stanza of the hymn:
Holy, holy, holy! all the saints adore Thee
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee
Who wert and art and evermore shalt be.
Virtually that entire stanza is based on Revelation 4. Casting down their golden crowns is what the twenty-four elders are doing in v. 10. Around the glassy sea is John’s description of what he saw in front of the throne: “a sea of glass, like crystal.” (v. 6) Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee is a reference to those in heaven who, “fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever.” (v. 10) Who wert and art and evermore shalt be is the poet’s rendering of the four living creature’s final description of the God, “who was and is and is to come.” (v.8)
What a powerful picture! What an overwhelming setting for worship!
I believe the time our Worship Team spent Saturday morning thinking and praying through this passage–and connecting it to our opening hymn–helped make us more effective in both our personal worship and public leadership. You may have noticed that selections from Revelation 4 were read at the beginning of Sunday’s service right before we began singing Holy! Holy! Holy!
I pray this small window into Saturday’s rehearsal might serve as an encouragement to each of us in recognizing the riches of the songs we sing, and having them impact us with even more power in our services. I personally am already looking forward to this Sunday!
– Pastor Greg