Summary: After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their ha
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. - Revelation 7:9
What a beautiful holy scene we see given to us by the Apostle John as he sees the Bride, the body of Christ. There he sees a holy multitude in white, unified, one, glorifying and worshipping the Lamb of God. There are no divisions, schisms, debating, divisions, but rather a wonderful unity never to be broken again or against. Could we all receive a vision of similar magnitude we would never see divisions or separations in the body of Christ but look with eyes of love to others. The early Church saw divisions between personalities in the Church (1 Corinthians 1:13) practices in the Church (Acts 15:2) and different customs that are cultural. Over Church history there have been many different expressions of the Church that have existed even to our day that have different styles and modes of worship. It is very easy to judge other brothers and sisters in this way when we think that all other believers should look and act like myself. For instance it is shocking for people to realize that many people around the world do not use toilet paper and eat with their hands. When we for the first time see different practices in the Church up close and personal it can feel even offensive to our minds and we can even say heretical in the same breath. Such judging comes from ignorance and from thinking from our perspective only.
Another thought also in modern evangelical circles is that our form of worship, ways of seeing the Scriptures and God are the best every in Church history. But as we start to look out over all the expressions of the Church throughout history we see perhaps that we are not the best type of Christianity that ever existed but rather we have much to learn from other ancient Church expressions. Some have thought the way forward is to cast off all structure, or sense of what they would deem religious, authority over believers, and old Church buildings. Some in the pursuit of the early Church have stripped away so much of what the Church is that they end up losing the Church. Our culture is so against authority, whether its Church, Government or Familial that we are in danger of following such a culture as believers. The Moravian Church had a motto: "In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; and in all things, love." We are prone to look to nonessentials and judge other christian believers on that basis. Sectarian thinking is something very unhealthy when we judge each other on a basis of division of Christian practice. We must as believers now look at each other as those who are "dressed in white" (Revelation 3:4) and see each other as Christ would look at us. One day we will all glorify the Lord together in white and not in our own distinctive way of worship, we will all be in unity glorifying our Saviour. Heavenly Father, grant me eyes to see your believers all as one even though we have very different forms of worship and style. Lord help me to see as you see, and treat your Church as a holy thing. Amen.