A friend of mine led a tour last year to the seven churches of the book of Revelation. I said, “Did you go to the island of Patmos?” “No,” he said, “I asked the people about going to Patmos, and they said, ‘It would take you a day to get there, and a day to get back, and when you get to Patmos you don’t see anything.’” And I thought to myself, “Tell that one to the Apostle John.”
But, you know, that’s church, isn’t it? That’s worship. It’s possible to be in the building and to see nothing. [John was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day,” Revelation 1:10]
—Sinclair Ferguson, “The Church’s Worship” (audio message)
Perhaps the question to ask is whether we actually expect God to speak. If we wish to invite worshipers into that expectation, then the opening words of the service are especially important. A blessing and invitation from God, in the words of Scripture, set the expectation that God is already speaking in this place, today. This prepares worshipers to hear God in any element of the service, even those not specifically thought of as God’s Word to us.
—Ron and Debra Rienstra, Worship Words: Discipling Language for Faithful Ministry, 48
It is widely recognized that Revelation provides the church with a theology of history, however what is of great importance for our study is that this theology of history is built around the theme of worship. The action of the Son in shedding his blood to free us from our sins (1:5b) was so that we, the redeemed, would be made “a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (1:6) The goal of redemption is worshipful service.
—Noel Due, Created For Worship: From Genesis to Revelation to You, 221
Whatever the assembly means, it means by juxtaposing an old book and this present people.
—Gordon W. Lathrop, Holy Things: A Liturgical Theology, 16
All the new songs in the book of Revelation are about old things.