Heaven’s Thrilling, All-Encompassing Worship
Most people know that we’ll worship God in Heaven. But they don’t grasp how thrilling that will be. Multitudes of God’s people—of every nation, tribe, people, and language—will gather to sing praise to God for his greatness, wisdom, power, grace, and mighty work of redemption (Revelation 5:13-14). Overwhelmed by his magnificence, we will fall on our faces in unrestrained happiness and say, “Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” (Revelation 7:9-12).
People of the world are always striving to celebrate—they just lack ultimate reasons to celebrate (and therefore find lesser reasons). As Christians, we have those reasons—our relationship with Jesus and the promise of Heaven. “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3). Does this excite you? If it doesn’t, you’re not thinking correctly.
As I share in my book Heaven, I find it ironic that many people stereotype life in Heaven as an interminable church service. Apparently, church attendance has become synonymous with boredom. Yet meeting God—when it truly happens—will be far more exhilarating than a great meal, a poker game, hunting, gardening, mountain climbing, or watching the Super Bowl. Even if it were true (it isn’t) that church services must be dull, there will be no church services in Heaven. The church (Christ’s people) will be there. But there will be no temple, and as far as we know, no services (Revelation 21:22).
Will we always be engaged in worship? Yes and no. If we have a narrow view of worship, the answer is no. But if we have a broad view of worship, the answer is yes. As Cornelius Venema explains, worship in Heaven will be all-encompassing: “No legitimate activity of life—whether in marriage, family, business, play, friendship, education, politics, etc.—escapes the claims of Christ’s kingship. . . . Certainly those who live and reign with Christ forever will find the diversity and complexity of their worship of God not less, but richer, in the life to come. Every legitimate activity of new creaturely life will be included within the life of worship of God’s people."
Will we always be on our faces at Christ’s feet, worshiping Him? No, because Scripture says we’ll be doing many other things—living in dwelling places, eating and drinking, reigning with Christ, and working for Him. Scripture depicts people standing, walking, traveling in and out of the city, and gathering at feasts. When doing these things, we won’t be on our faces before Christ. Nevertheless, all that we do will be an act of worship. We’ll enjoy full and unbroken fellowship with Christ. At times this will crescendo into greater heights of praise as we assemble with the multitudes who are also worshiping Him.
Worship involves more than singing and prayer. I often worship God while reading a book, riding a bike, or taking a walk. I’m worshiping him now as I write. Yet too often I’m distracted and fail to acknowledge God along the way. In Heaven, God will always be first in my thinking.
Even now, we’re told, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). That God expects us to do many other things, such as work, rest, and be with our families, shows that we must be able to be joyful, pray, and give thanks while doing other things.
Have you ever spent a day or several hours when you sensed the presence of God as you hiked, worked, gardened, drove, read, or did the dishes? Those are foretastes of Heaven—not because we are doing nothing but worshiping, but because we are worshiping God as we do everything else.
In Heaven, where everyone worships Jesus, no one says, “Now we’re going to sing two hymns, followed by announcements and prayer.” The singing isn’t ritual but spontaneous praise (Revelation 5:11-14). If someone rescued you and your family from terrible harm, especially at great cost to himself, no one would need to tell you, “Better say thank you.” On your own, you would shower Him with praise. Even more will you sing your Savior’s praises and tell of His life-saving deeds!