21 June 2014

Revelation 15:1-4

"For you alone are holy." (v.4)


The Revelation of John is concerned with the kingdom of the world becoming the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. It deals with themes of worship and power. It is full of amazing and astonishing imagery which grabs the imagination, the spirit and our emotions.

The Book of Revelation is clear that we must let God be God. God is holy and our response to that holiness should be awe and wonder. So it follows that God's reign on earth promises that we can encounter the holy God around us on the earth. We must be prepared to be surprised to meet the holy one in all kinds of places - a stable at Bethlehem, on a cross on a town dump outside Jerusalem, in the faces of the people we love and those who are different from us.

The faithful ones in this passage know two things about God and human beings. The faithful know that God is holy and that all nations will come and worship God.

This god is for all, in all, and all will worship this god. In coming to worship God, one nation will meet another, not in difference but in common purpose. The faithful people this passage mentions praise God for what God has done and for God's justice to all.

Faith in God has often separated people through division and disagreement. But in John's vision, God unites people and nations as they worship, filled with awe and wonder. Part of their unity comes from their profound awareness that this god whom they have met is not like them. God's ways are not their ways, God's thoughts are not their thoughts and God's strength is not their strength. Their response to realising the gulf between themselves and their lives and the greatness of God is to worship.

The faithful have known plenty of kings and rulers who are not just and true, but God is known and trusted. They have been saved by God's power and they offer their thanks and praise in worship.

To Ponder

  • What does it mean to be holy?
  • Do you know a person you would describe as holy? Why would you say that about them?
  • If you are a Christian, when did you last worship God? Where was it?

Bible notes author

Revd Helen Cameron

Helen Cameron is a Methodist presbyter and Chair of the Northampton District. Prior to this she was the Assistant Secretary of the Conference and Director of Methodist Formation at the Queen's Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education in Birmingham.