Worship and Liturgy (01): Between Heaven and Earth

Date: 3/2/2008
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Worship and Liturgy (1): Between Heaven and Earth
All Saints * Dr. Gregg Strawbridge * March 2, 2008

He erected the pillars in the front of the temple, one to the south and one to the north. The one to the south he named Jakin and the one to the north Boaz (2 Chr. 3:17). But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant . . . (Heb. 12:22-24).

Real Worship - Real worship sees into reality with a scope. Real worship displays reality like an overhead projector. Real worship helps us take off our world-imparted glasses. Real worship gives us hearing aids to hear the great cloud of witnesses. Real worship gives us 3D spectacles to see angels in the architecture. Real worship exposes the Church as she is - “One of our great allies at present is the Church itself. Do not misunderstand me. I do not mean the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans” (CS Lewis, Screwtape Letters, 12-13).
Biblical Worship - Worship in the Bible replays Eden. Eden was the meeting place of God and Man. Eden is a model of heaven’s sanctuary. Later new environments were designed after the model of heaven into which man could ascend to the presence of God, such as the Tabernacle and Temple. These architectural-stylized “Edens” have the same themes (high elevation/mountain shaped altars, firmament, trees, waters, etc.). Then the visions of new covenant worship picture a more glorified form of the Tabernacle-Temple, e.g., Ezekiel’s vision and references to the heavenly Jerusalem in Hebrews and Revelation.
Lord’s Day Worship -John wrote: “On the Lord's (kuriakos) Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet” (Rev. 1:10). Kuriakos ("Lord's") was used of Emperor's Day on which payments were made (i.e., IRS Day) (Didache 14, Ignatius Magn. 9). Kuriakos is used only twice: once in reference to the Lord's day (Kuriakos hemera, Rev. 1:10) and once in reference to the Lord's Supper (Kuriakos deipnon, 1Co. 11:20). The same conception in Revelation 1:10 is found in Ezekiel. “The Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and in visions of God he took me to Jerusalem... (Ez. 8:2ff). The Spirit lifted Ezekiel “between earth and heaven.”
Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as receive a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more