“Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Reference: Revelation 19:9-10 [Emphasis mine] )
There are some things in this live that are pretty wonderful. All sorts of things on a long continuum of life experiences. For myself chocolate of most any kind (dark especially), hugs from friends and family, sleep, and a cooling breeze are things I could almost worship. For others it is financial resources, furniture, jewelry, and cars. Still others have other things that they place on a figurative or literal altar. The writer of Revelation was probably closer than most in trying to worship something truly worthwhile, an angel. But the only thing that should be worship is God.
Now we may put things high on our priority list, and that is a sort of worship. But I do not think my chocolate or someone else’s diamond necklace should take priority over compassion, mercy etc. It is okay to really like those things, but if the pursuit of those things and authentic Christian living conflict, you know what has to go. And this should be even more abundantly clear when we talk about our relationship with others – although I am very willing to share my chocolate!
The historic Anabaptist for today focused on a different portion of this passage than I did. His focus was hearing and having faith in the true words of God. Jelis Strings wrote, “Behold, dear friend, if we hear His word, and keep it well in our hearts, we are entitled to all these promises of blessedness; for it is the true food of the soul, by which all Christians must be fed, if they are to live; for Christ says that man lives not by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Matt. 4:4. Yea, as the prophet Jeremiah says, in the 15th chapter, verse 16: “Lord, thy word sustains me, since I have obtained it; and thy word is the comfort and joy of my heart.” Solomon, also, says: “Every word of God is pure, and they are a shield unto them that put their trust therein.” Prov. 30:5. Therefore, dear friends, let us always put our trust in God’s Word; it will not deceive us; for John says: These sayings of God are true; heaven and earth shall pass away, but the words of God shall not pass away. Rev. 19:9. O dear friends, let us heed it well, for it is what will judge us in the last day . . .”
In looking at what I wrote five years ago I discovered I had focused on the same portion of this passage, where the angel rooted his identity in being a fellow believer. In “Fellow Servants” I said that we stand in a long line of believers spanning back to the disciples of Christ, and we have all worshiped God together be in through scripted liturgies and litanies, or praise chorus and hosannas. Authentic Christians focus their prayer, praise, and worship on God; and that unifies us all as fellow believers. May your belief hold strong beloved as we all worship God together. Selah!