Saturday

Upgrading Worship

There’s a wonderful worship song that sings about “Take me into the Holy of Holies.”

Take me past the outer courts
Into the secret place,
Past the brazen altar,
Lord, I want to see Your face.
Pass me by the crowds of people,
The priests who sing Your praise;
I hunger and thirst for Your righteousness
And it’s only found in one place.

Take me in to the Holy of Holies,
Take me in by the blood of the Lamb;
Take me in to the Holy of Holies,
Take the coal, cleanse my lips, Here I am.
Take the coal, cleanse my lips, Here I am.

By Dave Browning
©1986 Glory Alleluia Music CCLI #19272


I was in my quiet place, worshiping with this song this morning, giving voice to my desire to lay aside other things and draw close to him, and I was enjoying his tender response to me: I could feel his presence responding to my cry and snuggling close with me. Since I was in a public coffee shop, it was kinda weird, but who cares? God & I were connecting; when that happens, everything else is superfluous!

And in the middle of all of that, God interrupts our reverie together. “That’s Old Covenant. Aim higher.” There was no sense of condemnation or rebuke with his words, but a clear invitation to more.

Hunh? What? Um… Tell me more….

And he did. He began by pointing out that the whole imagery of the song is from the old covenant, from the Tabernacle of Moses and from the Temple of Solomon: the Holy of Holies was a kind of a secret room where one priest went, on one day out of the entire year, into the place that was supposed to hold God’s presence. The intent of the song is really good: “I want to be in your presence!” but the theology is weak, the goal is too low. The song is crying for God to take me to a place on earth, in a man-made, off-limits, structure, where God promised to put his presence from time to time. In fact, that’s kind of how we talk about God’s presence sometimes: kind of off-limits, hidden away, and sometimes we get access there on a special occasion.

He went on: “Why would you still want me to give you access to the special place on Earth when I’ve already given you access to my very presence in Heaven?” He was offering to upgrade my worship. By this time, I’m pretty excited. Yeah? Tell me more! Please!

  1. You’re aiming to enter a place on Earth I used to visit sometimes. I’m not like that; really, I never have been like that. I encourage you to come to the place in Heaven where I am always present.

  2. You’re asking me to do it for you. Don’t do that. I’ve already made the way available to you, any time you want! New Covenant is ‘Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.’ That’s what I want from you.


While we talked, he seemed to focus on the second point. When I was a child, it was really appropriate to ask my Mommy or Daddy to take me where I wanted to go. But I’m not a child any longer, he gently reminded me, and he’d rather relate to me as a mature son, as a co-heir of the Kingdom of God, seated with Jesus.

It’s not his job anymore, he explained, to bring me in. It’s my job to come in. The imagery was from my own life: my son has grown up and moved out and made his own home, and has his own responsibilities, but he’s always welcome in my home. If we’re going to visit together, it’s not my job to drive to his house, pick him up, bring him to my house and carry him through the front door. Let’s face it: that would be weird.

But that’s what I was asking God to do with me. I began to understand why he demurred.

I don’t know why, but I am often hesitant about intruding on others’ space. And I have friends that are freaked out by the thought of “taking trips to Heaven” to visit God. Yeah, that’s not commonly taught. But Father pointed out, “Jesus did it. He even talked about it. Interesting, isn’t it, that so few hear him say it.”

“No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man” – John 3:13

Apparently Jesus, in his private prayer times, would – in some way that is available to me – visit heaven. Oh wait, Paul did it. Enoch appeared to do it (He didn’t come back!). And it was kind of normal for John. There is precedent for this.

So I am feeling challenged, provoked, to upgrade my worship in 2011:

  • I want to worship – at least some of the time – from Heaven, not from earth toward heaven. I’m seated there, I can do that.
  • I want to worship as a mature son, not dependent on Him or others for my entry into his presence. I want my visits to be characterized by “coming boldly.”
  • I want my life to be characterized by the fact that – while I’m walking around on the dirt down here – I’m also seated with Christ at the right hand of our Father’s throne: I’m also actually in heaven, while I’m on earth. I want that to infuse my life.


How will you upgrade your worship this year?

3 comments:

D.Hill said...

Love this word. Love it! I appreciate your writing through your faith in God (which includes the struggles you selflessly share with others).

Prayingmedic said...

I think it's one of them classes I should sign up for since I'm beginning a new year of school.

Thanks bro!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this! This is exactly what I've been crying out to see! This is exactly the cry of my heart this year, and now I know that I am welcome to come of my own accord, and remember that I live there, in His Presence all the time! All year long! Thanks!