15/6/03 : BCP Trinity Sunday Revelation 4:1-11
REV 4:1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter. 2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. 3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. 4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. 5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. 6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. 7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. 8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. 9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, 10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Many of you will know that my family comes from Norwich in the East of England. A young visitor came to church in the nearby East Coast resort of Great Yarmouth. After the service she was asked what she thought of the service. She said that she couldn't understand why there was no mention of the West Coast in the service. When she was asked what she meant she said, "Well, they kept saying 'In the name of the Father, the Son and the whole East Coast' "
Today is Trinity Sunday. When we remember and
celebrate the Christian God. One God. Three persons. Working together
in unity to bring glory to God the Father, through God the Son, in the
power of the Holy Spirit.
Today's reading gives a picture of the glory that is God's in heaven. We may not understand the significance of the various numbers and symbols but we cannot fail to be taken aback by the description of God and what is happening in heaven around him.
The voice behind the open door was that of Jesus. Jesus who has opened the door of heaven to you and me by his death for us on the cross.Jesus, man and God, who is worshipped as the slain lamb of God in the following Chapter.
God is not actually described, but is spoken of as colours. Jasper - green; sardine stone - red; emerald refracting light like a rainbow. Something that reminds us of the rainbow in Genesis 9. Given after the flood as a sign of God's covenant never to send another flood .
The 24 elders and beasts are supernatural beings.
The 4 beast give continual praise and worship to God. They continually oroclaim the holiness of God, the double repetition adds emphasis to this. 'Holy' means set apart, and can refer to the 'otherness' of God, that there is none like him, as well as His perfection which means that nothing unclean will be allowed into his presence. 21. 27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
The reaction to God is one of awe and fear. His holiness and power have been and will be shown in the past, present and future showing the timelessness of God and the constancy of God.
The 24 elders renounce their thrones on occasions to give adoration to God. We have to renounce our old life, like they laid down their crowns before the throne of Jesus. Their adoration centres around the creative act of God. They remind us of our reason for living. Not to enjoy ourselves, but for the pleasure of God. We can only please God by accepting the new life that he offers us in Jesus. New life that can only be understood and accepted through the work of the Holy Spirit.
N.I.V. 4:11 "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." These words tell us that we can be thankful to God not only for our creation but also for continuing to give us life. Some people think that Christianity teaches that God has got the world going and is observing it dispassionately, but htis is called Deism. God is actively involved in the whole created order all of the time because, if he withdrew his power it would have to power of itself to continue and everything would cease to exist.
There is a great story behind The Greatest Story Ever Told that involves director George Stevens and John Wayne in the role of a Roman centurion. His one line in the picture was: "Truly, this man was the Son of God." After a couple of attempts at this seemingly simple line, Stevens gently told him, "Duke, what we need in this line is something more. Look up at the man and give us some awe." Wayne nodded positively, Stevens signaled the cameras to roll, and Wayne said, "Awww, truly this man was the Son of God."
This anecdote probably never happened, but when John Wayne heard the story he even admitted to friends and associates that it made a great tale.
This Trinity Sunday we need to come with awe that is genuine and thoughtful to our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Let us recognize afresh the wonder of God. His greatness. That he is eternal. The glory, honour, power, and praise that he deserves. That we can have fellowship with the great and awesome God because of what he has done for us in Jesus, something that has been revealed to us by the work of the Holy Spirit in us.