‘But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.’ Hebrews 12:22-24 (ESV)
This passage, thought to be a sermon written by Apollos to encourage people in the Early Church, is unlikely to be seen as a description of Sunday worship. Have you ever wondered if there are angels in church with us? I mean the celestial ones, not those whom we find so kind and gentle that we call them angels. I think we are rather blinded to the spiritual world, and yet, as that passage from the Scriptures says, we have come to the city of the living God; we dwell in his Kingdom, as surely as we dwell here on earth; where better to see this than in church?
Imagine if we could see what the angels see. Frank Peretti describes that quite well in this passage: ‘As in countless times past, in countless places, with marvellous, inscrutable wonder, the Lamb of God stood among them, the Word of God…the Creator and the Truth that holds all creation together – most wonderous of all, and most inscrutable of all, the Saviour, a title the angels would always behold and marvel about, but which only mankind could know and understand.’ (p394)
No wonder they sing ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive honour and glory and praise’. No wonder, then, that when we sing, our hearts are uplifted, we are affirmed as God’s precious children.
The praise and prayers of God’s people are so precious, but also so powerful, enabling God to work in this world. Prayers and praise we offer to God enable things to happen, help us grow, and give space for the Holy Spirit to move in cold and lonely hearts.
Is it this that we pine for, this joining together of our hearts and minds, in worship, love and praise? The time will come when we do so again, but until then, lets be cheered by words of Scripture, online services, the kindness of strangers and the knowledge that God is with us. And possibly angels too.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing. Amen