Worship Words

July 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”  –Aldous Huxley


While using biblical imagery and poetic phrases in worship is, well, biblical, it can also lead to confusion regarding what it is we are actually saying and singing.  This Sunday (tomorrow) we will be singing songs like All Hail The Power Of Jesus’s Name and Holy, Holy, Holy.  We will also be downright soaked in Revelation chapters 1-5.  The mix of hymns and ancient text will be lovely, but the language will not be helpful if we don’t spend time learning the vocabulary of Scripture.  Below you will find a few key words and phrases that we will be using tomorrow morning in song, speech, or text.  This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but I hope the few things I have posted will allow you to engage worship in a fresh, thoughtful way.


Prostrate: Stretched out, face down, in adoration or submission.  It is sign of respect and a symbol for feelings of reverence.

Diadem: a crown

Terrestrial Ball: The word “terrestrial” indicates something relating to earth or its inhabitants.  So when we sing “Every kindred/Every tribe/On the terrestrial ball,” we’re singing, “Everyone on earth…”

Exalt: to elevate, to raise high, to praise.

The “golden crowns” and “glassy sea”:  Revelation 4 gives us a glimpse into the heavenly throne room of God.  Revelation 4:6 says “before the throne there was…a sea of glass, like crystal.”  Present around this throne, among many other beings and things, are 24 elders.  These elders are wearing golden crowns, and in an act of worship they throw them off before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

 Cherubim and seraphim:  Cherubim and a seraphim are heavenly creatures.  I am not an expert in heavenly things, but I know they have some interesting characteristics and are present in biblical scenes of heavenly worship.  Seraphim have 6 wings and are mentioned in Isaiah 6:1-7 and described in Revelation 4 .  Cherubim have 4 faces each.  While not mentioned explicitly in Revelation, they are found guarding the throne of God in Ezekiel (28:14-16)


Pray, read, study, serve, love, worship.


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