In the NEW heavens and the NEW earth – will we grow tired of looking at Jesus for all eternity? Will that view ever grow OLD?
In the centre, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:
“‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”
9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.”
The answer seems to be NO!
Boredom doesn’t seem to be a problem, repetition doesn’t seem to be the enemy to joy and praise, novelty doesn’t seem to be necessary.
Of course there is more to the information we have about life in God’s perfect new creation than this snippet grabbed from Revelation chapter 4 and there is even more information that we just aren’t given. I’m not claiming that this is literally what we are going to be doing all day and I realise that here in chapter 4 the view is of God’s throne room before all things are renewed, before the wedding of Revelation 21 . Nevertheless, surely we can take from it, and from other such passages, that worship of God is going to be a major theme of our resurrection lives! AND that the repetitive worship of the Lord God Almighty is not dull to those casting their crowns before him!
So why do we get so tired of looking at him now? Why does repetition scare us off? Liturgy becomes despised, a song that is over-used quickly makes us groan and even the Lord’s prayer is pushed away because it just too familiar.
Is it our love of novelty that turns us off anything smacking of repetition? Is it only the new that can hope to hold our demanding attention? And if so, how long does it have before the novelty wears off?
And…are we really such fans as novelty as we make out? I wouldn’t want to meet new people every day and never see the same people again. I like having meals that I have eaten before and going to places well known to me. I like knowing where things are in the supermarket and I love traditions. Now I realise that I my love of routine and the familiar is stronger than it is in others – but the question remains.. In the core areas of our lives do we tend to reject repetition or enjoy living within it? Is it more in the area of holidays and entertainment etc. that novelty becomes the treasure we seek? And if so, what does that say about our worship of God?
They say familiarity breeds contempt and I know what they mean. You look at a spectacular view from your hotel window for the first time and your breath is taken away – you stop what you are doing and just gaze. In contrast, the hotel staff who go in and out of your room day after day, week after week may not even pause for a second look. The view itself is no less stunning, but who is doing the viewing makes all the difference.
The hotel guest has invested time and money in this view (or someone else has for them!). They are there (at least in part) for the very purpose of enjoying it. The hotel staff are there to get the same old job done so they can go into another room and do it all over again.
Which viewer best describes you on a Sunday morning (or whenever your church family gathers)? Sadly I think that for me, the description of the hotel staff is far too close for comfort.
Once again a bit of a meander of a blog post, but I hope it will be a worthwhile one. To be continued..