Sunday, September 5, 2010

Revelation Song

My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

It's Sunday afternoon, and I had a really wonderful time in church this morning. I was especially moved leading and singing a song called "Revelation Song." Here's a Youtube clip of Kari Jobe singing it with Gateway Church in Austin. I'll post the lyrics too, because they are very moving to me... the majesty and power of God. So many contemporary worship songs treat God like a buddy. And there is some truth and comfort in the idea that God is right here with me, a friend who is closer than anyone else. I'm glad I can celebrate a God like that. But it is also important to remember that God is above us, all-powerful and, in many ways, unknowable. It is right for us to approach God with a sense of awe, wonder and reverence. I think this song gets that aspect of worship right.

For those unfamiliar with Christian worship, this may seem really weird, and rightly so. It's like a rock concert mixed with a church service mixed with a little tent-revival Pentacostalism. My church isn't nearly as over-the-top emotive, rock-show spectacular or... well, loud. But we do believe that when we gather together, something special happens. We really experience the presence and the power of the living God. And, although I often struggle with the balance between performance and worship, today was - for me - a great morning.

(And - just for the record - this is only one teeny-tiny little glimpse into what Christian worship is all about. One song in one church. For many Christians, this would be unrecognizable. In Protestant Evangelicalism, anyway, there are as many styles of worship as there are churches, for better or for worse.)

Kari Jobe is a really wonderful writer and singer. You may not worship and follow Jesus like I do, but I hope you can at least catch a glimpse of your Higher Power in this song.

Revelation Song
Written by Jennie Lee Riddle

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Holy, holy is He
Sing a new song to Him who sits on
Heaven's mercy seat

Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

Clothed in rainbows of living color
Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor, strength and glory and power be
To You, the only wise King

Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your name
Jesus, Your name is power, breath and living water
Such a marvelous mystery

(c) 2004 Gateway Create Publishing

::EDIT:: I'm frustrated that I can't get the video embedded correctly. If you watch it here, it cuts off on the side. Oh well, if you wanna see it, you can click through to Youtube. :)

1 comment:

G. Rabanon said...

Haven't watched the vid yet, but those lyrics are pretty great. In Jewish worship we strive to always balance the imminent and the transcendent. I would recommend, if you have any reading time, the works of Abraham Joshua Heschel for more on that point... and more. Heschel was a theological genius, and my teacher's teacher.

What I really wanted to tell you about is a very popular Jewish hymn (a piyyut, liturgical poem) which many synagogues sing communally at the end of services. It is called Adon Olam, and this Revelation Song reminds me of it a little... I'll try to translate off the top of my head here (usually I do gender neutral language, but just take "He" it as poetic):

Lord of Eternity (Olam can mean World, Universe, or Eternity) Who has ruled before any creature was created,
At the time when, by His will everything was made, then His name was called "king"
And after everything has finished, He alone will rule in awesomeness
And He was, and He is, and He will be, in splendor.
And He is One, there is no second to be compared, to be His peer
Without beginning, without end, His is the strength and position (of rulership)
And He is My God, my living redeemer (as a family member redeems... the symbolism is important) the Rock of my pain/suffering/trial in time of trouble
And He is my flag/proof/miracle (the different usages of this word "nes" is fascinating, we'll talk about that another time) and my refuge/escape
The portion of my cup on the day that I cry out
Into His hand I entrust my spirit at the time I will sleep and I will awake (could be read Both in sleep and waking, or that I entrust my spirit when I sleep, and thus have faith that I will awake)
and with my spirit, my body (could be read I entrust my body with my spirit, or that I have faith that my body will remain with my spirit)
The Lord is near to me/is mine, and I will not fear.

Adon Olam asher malach b'terem kol yetzir nivra
L'et nasah b'cheftzo kol, azai Melech shemo nikra
v'acharei kichlot hakol, levado yimloch norah
v'Hu haya, v'Hu hoveh, v'Hu yihieh b'Tifarah
v'Hu echad, v'eyn sheini l'hamshil lo, leHachbirah
B'li reishit, b'li tachlit, v'lo haOz v'haMisrah
v'Hu Eli v'Chai go'ali v'Tzur chevli b'et tzarah
v'Hu nisi u'manos li, menat kosi b'yom ekra
b'yado afkid ruchi b'et ishan, v'a'irah
v'im ruchi, gevi'ati Adonai Li, v'Lo eera

אדון עולם אשר מלך בטרם כל יציר נברא
לעת נעשה בחפצו כל אזי מלך שמו נקרא
ואחרי ככלות הכל לבדו ימלוך נורא
והא היה הוא הווה הוא יהיה בתפארה
והוא אחד ואין שני להמשיל לו להחבירה
בלי ראשית בלי תכלית ןלו העז והמישרה
והוא אלי וחי גואלי וצור חבלי בעת צרה
והוא ניסי ומנוס לי מנת כוסי ביום אקרא
בידו אפקיד רוחי בעת אישן ואעירה
ועם רוחי גויתי אדני לי ולא אירא