Lesson Nine • Worship

Devotion 6: The Show’s Recipient

David Hudgens


I have a friend and mentor, Erik, who for 20 years of his life was a touring, independent musician and worship leader. Regularly, he would lead worship at church conferences and the like, often sharing with me how truly amazing it was to be surrounded by large groups of people singing to Jesus with passion and conviction. He is right. It is almost impossible to adequately explain the encouragement, contentment, and joy that one experiences in those unique gatherings where voices joined together, in one song, all assembled, offer praise to our King and Savior Jesus.


When I think about it naturally, it is a curious thing what believers do when we gather together. Consider it with me for a moment. We set aside the same day each week to meet up, sing songs, and read from and meditate upon ancient writings. We make grand visual displays, some wave flags, some raise hands, while others bow low and reflect quietly. All of this is done unto an invisible being. Really, it is quite remarkable to accept. Our natural senses, apart from a personal encounter with Jesus, would be quick to reject such a thing. Yet, within John’s throne room vision, we get a glimpse of perhaps how even more wild the experience of heavenly worship is and will be.


I do not often pay too close attention to the section headers in my Bible, but every once in a while one will captivate my thoughts. This is the case with our reading today. My Bible gives these titles to chapters 4 and 5 respectively: Introduction to the Drama, A Dramatic Introduction, and The Lamb Opens the Scroll. Honestly, could these sections be entitled any better? Well, perhaps they could, but they are certainly fitting to the scene described by John as he is invited to view the realm of Heaven. With each verse, we are shown something truly otherworldly as unfamiliar creatures take shape and hierarchies are explained. We learn of a song that is repeated day and night, without end, and discover names given to God that are phrases that point to the depth of His character and nature. It is an amazing and wonderfully dramatic scene that leads to the climax of the entrance of Jesus and His being honored above all living beings as worthy to open the scroll.


John’s description of what he witnessed causes me to have this thought. The best stories, the best adventures, and the tales we tell are filled with struggle, fear, worry, the fantastical, victory, and celebration. In other words, the best stories we craft and share are epic dramas.


Have you ever thought about your worship as being like this before the Lord? Have you ever considered the path you walk with Jesus as being like that of a grand drama being written and played out for the glory of the Father and the Son? For the Christ-follower, the people you meet, the struggles you endure, the defeats and victories, the life lived by grace and walked in faith, all of it is a dramatic display for the glory of God.


Allow me to end with this final reflection. My friend Erik, who I mentioned earlier, once shared with me a conversation he had with a well-meaning church member. He explained that one day, after a gathering, a gentleman approached him and expressed discontent for his on-stage display while leading the congregation in praise and worship. The man stated that he was concerned that his worship was nothing more than a show and not at all befitting for properly worshiping the Lord. Erik’s loving response was this, “Oh, you’re right, it is a show. But don’t be confused, it’s just not a show for you. It’s a show for Jesus, who alone is worthy of it and more.”