The author of Revelation gives us another picture of worship in Chapter 7, and while the setting is the heavenly throne-room of God, the context for this worship entails all that the church on earth has to endure. For we see standing before the throne a vast multitude—far more than can be counted—from every tribe and nation on earth. They have come through a severe ordeal, and now the ordeal is over and they are singing the song of their salvation.
“Salvation,” they cry, “belongs to God and to the Lamb!” They understand that while they walked in the midst of struggles, persecution, trials, temptations, and daily challenges to the Christian way, their very faith and salvation hung in the balance. None could have made it through, except that God’s grace brought them strength to endure. To their robust praise of the God who saves them, the angels themselves can respond, “Amen!” And so all of heaven and earth join at last to sing the song of salvation.
The picture we see is not of a church whose courage and determination won them the right to share in the victory of Christ. What we see instead is a church who, because they already share communion in Christ, became determined and brave. By grace alone the church on earth has become the church triumphant.
This week we continue our Eastertide sermon series, “Still to Come.” Drawing on images from the Book of Revelation, this series invites the church to rise above its present day challenges and circumstances, and live as citizens of heaven, embracing God’s final vision of justice and righteousness.