The End of the Story: The Lamb upon the Throne
At my boarding school, St. Mary’s Convent, Nainital, we Catholic girls had to go to Mass five days a week, go to Benediction (sung worship) once a week, Adoration (personal prayer) once a month, and choir practice once a week. These were the minimal devotional requirements! A LOT of singing. I decided, as a school girl, that if I did not mean the words, did not understand what they meant in practice, had no experience of them, I would not sing them. That is what I now tell one of my daughters, who is most rational in her approach, to faith to do.
Therefore, I do not sing,
Let the streets resound with singing,
Dancers who dance upon injustice.
These are the days of Elijah
Declaring the Word of the Lord
And these are the days of Your servant Moses
Righteousness being restored
These are the days of Ezekiel
The dry bones becoming as flesh
And these are the days
Of your servant David
Rebuilding a temple of praise
Oh, come on! I’ve been singing that for 15 years. Whose days are these? Make up your mind.
So, what do I do while the hypnotic music whips the young and emotional into a frenzy as they sing “dancers dance upon injustice.” Can’t very well sleep: music too loud. As I advise my daughter who finds worship a trial, think of God. Have an alternative image in your mind. Meditate on it.
Here’s the image I meditate on most often during worship when they are singing something I do not connect with. (The songwriters at St. Aldate’s are in their twenties, and love to bounce songs they have written off the congregation at Sunday worship.) I flick forward to the end of the story, and the lovely image of the lamb upon his throne.
Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.
Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.”
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!”
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”
The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshipped.”
Isn’t that something lovely to meditate on? What a perfectly lovely end of the story!