Coldplay and the Worship of Heaven


Several years ago I attended a Coldplay concert in Pittsburgh (note: I don't endorse all of Coldplay's lyrics). It was an incredible concert. It was so loud I got my heartbeat and the drums confused, the lights dazzled me, and everywhere I looked people were singing their hearts out. People were excited to be there, and when the band came to their signature song, "Clocks", the audience erupted into a deafening cheer. To say it was emotional would be an understatement. It was one giant, joyful celebration...of Coldplay.

At the Coldplay concert I got the slightest taste of what worship in heaven is going to be like. Listen to the words of Revelation 5:9-13

And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth." Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!" And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!"

The worship of heaven is breathtaking. Millions upon millions of angels and saints lifting their voices in one passionate, pulsing, song of worship to Jesus. The worship of heaven is going to be glorious and deafening at the same time. Our voice will join with that great throng that surrounds the throne and we will sing, "Worthy is the lamb who was slain!" When we see the One who died in our place, the One who became our shame, the One who paid for every sin, we will not be able to keep silent. Our hearts will burst with songs of praise and songs will leap from our lips. We will be filled with joy that cannot be contained, but must overflow into joyful song. And we will be celebrating one person: Jesus Christ.

But we don't have to wait until heaven to get a taste of that glorious worship. We can turn our hearts to God today in gratefulness for the cross. Today we can rejoice in and celebrate all that Christ has done to redeem wicked sinners like us. As you drive to work, lift your voice in joyful praise to Jesus your redeemer. As you take your 10:00 am coffee break, turn your thoughts to the Savior who bore your every transgression. Before your head hits the pillow, thank the One who became your shame upon the cross. Let us lift our hearts in worship today to Jesus, our sacrifice.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 8:00 AM  


I don't mean to flop your message around or beat a personal drum here, but I think you've hit an important point in a sidelong way.

We (the church) confuse "a powerful musical experience that causes great emotional response" with "worship".

The experience, as you have rightly noted, is powerful and makes you feel wonderful and moved and emotional and it's likely a hint of what worship in heaven will make you feel like, but that feeling can be had from Coldplay or Pearl Jam or Britney or any secular band just as much as a worship team.

A great worship time has become a time when that feeling is felt. Worship has become a Pavlovian emotional response to a well-crafted music set, rather than personal acknowledgment and response to God's amazing power and grace in our hearts.

The Coldplay concert is a wonderful metaphor, you're bang on, but I believe that we have started to take the metaphor for the reality, much to our loss.

MrPages said...
November 2, 2007 at 1:18 PM  

Mr. Pages,

Very good points. Worship is not simply an emotional experience, it is a response to who God is and what He has done. This response includes every faculty, including both the intellect and the emotions. The Coldplay concert gives us a taste of how great the worship in heaven will be, but it is a very limited taste indeed. The concert was a celebration of Coldplay, heaven is a celebration of Jesus.

November 2, 2007 at 1:27 PM  

What lovely thoughts they were and refreshing to hear. I read where someone called worship a lifestyle--where we are in spirit and in truth, consistently living these choices that demonstrate our reverence for God. I pray that the meditation of my heart and the words of my mouth constantly reflect that awe and reverence that I'm so often distracted from.

I wonder what this means John 4:23-24 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

What does that mean? Do you think that "truth" means lifestyle?

Caroline said...
November 16, 2007 at 3:36 AM  

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