Centering Our Lives

The worship scenes in Revelation (especially chapters 4 and 5) offer an alternative center for our lives than what culture provides us. The vision of all creation centered in worship and obedient waiting upon God and the Lamb invites the reader to reorient his or her life around the throne of God as the pivotal center of our lives.

“John calls us to center ourselves and to remain centered, here. This centering for John does not belong to the fleeting moments of structured times of worship, however. It is the business of God’s creatures “day and night without rest” (4:8), which for human beings must mean bringing every facet of life into orbit around the enthroned God, centered on God, on God’s prompting, on God’s service” (deSilva, Unholy Allegiances).

“The alternative to worship focused on the true center, the true authority for life (symbolized here in the throne), is worship focused on false centers: idols. Babylon is the place of anti-worship” (Gorman, Reading Revelation Responsibly, 103).

“John challenges us to examine whether we stand appropriately focused on God on Sunday mornings but spend most of our time (and, truth be told, some of Sunday morning as well) turning away to move into orbit around other more local centers—our national centers, our commercial centers, the centers of our own selves—serving agendas other than God’s” (deSilva, Unholy Allegiances).

In John’s vision of the cosmos, there is no room for gathering around God’s throne at one time as one’s cosmic center and at another time in the fellowship of idols and their worshipers. “God the creator reigns and is worthy of our complete devotion, and Jesus the faithful, slaughtered Lamb of God reigns with God, equally worthy of our complete devotion” (Gorman, Reading Revelation Responsibly, 103).

John’s vision of a God-centered cosmos “raises disturbing questions about whether or not we are guilty of treating God as if he orbited around us, expecting God to show up to do our bidding, warming our hearts here, healing us there, taking care of this concern or problem over here. John would have disciples in every age understand—and live like they understand—that they exist to do God’s bidding, because God created all things for the doing of God’s will and pleasure (4:11)” (deSilva, Unholy Allegiances).

“The worship of God is the heartbeat of the cosmos, even when we humans on earth do not see it, participate in it, or value it. Only God is worthy to receive what others, especially powerful political figures, may want or demand: our total devotion, our praise, our crowns” (Gorman, Reading Revelation Responsibly, 107).

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