It was as though I were able to read their thoughts—though they were not thinking about the sudden appearance of this shadow. A sea of transparent faces with clear eyes like tunnels leading back into crystal minds, looked beyond me as if I were not there.
Some were winged creatures, awesome in their physical presence, yet unaware of that very grandeur. Others, whose features would have inspired fear in another world, were now marvelously benign. However, they had no time for me. They too looked beyond me, fully focused, eyes bright, and faces glowing. A multitude, those who seemed like me, but weren’t, glowed in white robes, which might have outshone the sun in their whiteness—if there had been a sun. They too, looked beyond me, adoration written indelibly on their faces.
Every eye centered on the Throne.
My Guide took my arm and led me closer. If you pressed me, I’d say He took me to the front, but in fact there was no front. The presence of the Enthroned One was everywhere. Every space, no matter how seemingly far away, was as though it were only a step from the dais.
To describe what I saw would be like catching the wind in a bottle: it ceases to be what it is as soon as it is touched by human craft. The One who occupied the Throne glowed as though every jewel in the universe had shed its brilliance as an offering in an ultimate act of worship.
I was suddenly aware of the sound. The air vibrated. Music, of which a pale imitation had been my only experience until this moment, soared around me. It was not brash. It did not fill my head with itself; rather it carried me directly into the glow of its Object. My friends would tell you, for they are here somewhere in this audience, that my voice resembles that of a crow. Nevertheless, in this place, my fully sanctified mouth, with a most melodious caw, echoed the words of the hymn being sung.
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”
“You are worthy, our Lord and God to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
A hand reached out from the midst of the brightness of the Throne. It held a scroll, tightly closed. Surrounded by such open, transparent purity, it seemed an aberration. What would dare to be closed against Majesty? I wept. One of the humankind leaned toward me and smiled:
“Don’t weep. There is no need. The Worthy One will open the scroll.”
My faltering human vision cleared and I saw the Lamb. He took the scroll and I knew Him. With those around me, I sang the song of redeeming blood and redeemed men.
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”
Encouraged by knowing that He had taken the name of one of theirs, to exalt His own, I heard the creatures from whom I had borrowed my own voice, add their cry to the song. From the earth, the skies, the seas, their worship resonated through the heavens.
“ … praise … honor … glory … power, for ever and ever!” The voice, which the serpent had lost in long-ago Eden, returned one more to Creation.
I needed no pen to record the sights and sounds. What was not permanently engraved on my soul would defy even the best-honed descriptive skills of a more accomplished writer than I am. My Guide stayed close, perhaps knowing that I would have stayed forever if I had been able. Soon, very soon, my turn would come and I would bask again in the glory of the Enthroned One, in the presence of the Lamb, with the Guide at my elbow.
The sun is less bright as it sets behind the now-tarnished beauty of my island prison. Until I can sing again with perfect pitch in the chorus of heaven before the Throne of the Majesty on High, I will caw as best I can:
“Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”
No human ear will hear the discordant notes, but God will know their intent, and be pleased.
Revelation 4:8, 11; 5:12, 13; 7:12
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