So today I got home and was thinking about this issue - of the silence of heaven. I've been emailing my friend Pete Day in London about this. We both agreed that if this - the status quo - is all there is, then frankly what is the point of staying alive? We might as well enter into a mass suicide pact now and get to heaven so it's all over! I should add I said that - not Pete.
I don't quite know what or Who but I decided in the quietness of my own home to start playing some of my favourite but too-neglected worship songs. The one I played reminded me oh-so painfully and oh-so wonderfully of the Brighton Newfrontiers Leaders Conference in 2007 when Rob Rufus was speaking. It was one of my favourite songs by Matt Weedall;
Jesus Christ has made the way to the Father-heart of God,
He became the sacrifice, He fulfilled the covenant - crucified for us.
Jesus high and holy priest, He has satisfied the law,
Living out the perfect life, bearing all the wrath of God - on the cross for us!
I stand redeemed, righteous and clean! Washed in the blood of the Lamb!
No guilt remains! I'm unashamed to stand before my King!
Now the Spirit testifies, that we're children of the light, set apart to worship God,
Through the death of Jesus Christ - who was raised to life!".
An amazing thing happened - just as the music started I felt the experience of God that I have missed so desperately. It was just so ... easy! Hence the rather tuneless but enthusiastic singing. I spent a really happy hour or two just singing through many of my favourite Stoneleigh Bible Week and Newfrontiers worship songs with a few Hillsongs thrown in for good measure. God felt so close! I just couldn't understand again how easy it was.
That's why this song is so full of truth - because the explanation is all there. Here's my train of thought;
1. It is MEANT to be so easy because "Jesus Christ has made the way".
2. It is MEANT to be an amazing encounter because it is "the Father-heart"! Not the "Father's law".
3. It is MEANT to be free because He "has satisfied the law".
So - I ask - why do we so persist in trying to add costs into that? Why do I automatically feel that I should pray or ask forgiveness that I have been away so long or run to read my Bible or sing louder to impress? It's meant to be free! He satisfied the law! I didn't!
4. It is MEANT to be complete, total and final!
The song says; "I stand redeemed! Righteous and clean! Washed in the blood of the Lamb! No guilt remains!". So why as a people washed in the blood of the Lamb with no guilt - do we spend so much time talking about sin? Why do we spend so much time "trying"? Something occured to me while enjoying this wonderful encounter with God.
Am I right is saying this;
The greatest act of worship is to enjoy freely the lavish gift of grace and greedily take it with no strings attached.
The greatest act of blasphemy is to try and add or justify that free, no strings enjoyment through acts of "sacrifice".
Why do we find it so hard to let ourselves enjoy God?