“After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the lamb… and they were shouting with a great roar, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!””Revelation 7:9-10
Using your holy imagination, can you see the crowd stretching out into the distance? Sea green saris and tribal woven skirts, batik shirts and Ghanaian head wraps, olive, white and deep brown skin. There may be instruments scattered throughout this worship crowd; djembes and tablas, sitars and pan flutes, a jazz piano and egg shakers. From the back, a ‘Mexican wave’ of words of worship sweeps the crowd – “King Jesus, the Lamb, Saviour.” This crowd is one in their worship. But they are not complete. Not yet.
This jigsaw puzzle has pieces missing. John Piper’s well-used quote, “Mission exists because worship doesn’t,” indirectly points to the wide-spread devout worship of millions of Hindus and Muslims, Buddhists and spirit-worshippers, materialists and worshippers of science. There is much worship going on, but not to the One True God, revealed in Christ. But the task is unfinished, as CIM missionary Frank Houghton and the Gettys remind us, because this picture is not complete. There are so many, not only people but peoples – whole people groups defined by a common culture and language and way of seeing the world – who still haven’t heard the life-giving, saving message of Jesus Christ.
Maybe they are unreached – where there are not enough believers to evangelise the rest of the people group.
Maybe they are unengaged – where there is no church or active missionary presence or even one single person to point others to Jesus.
Maybe not enough people have gone.
Maybe not enough churches have engaged and sent.
Matthew 24:14 reminds us that
“ …the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.”
This picture of the vast crowd worshipping the Lamb of God – Jesus – is linked to the sharing of the Good News. Until the time that all nations – ethnic people groups – have the opportunity to hear the Good News, the end, and this crowd of worship, won’t happen. But when it does, it will be final and grand and full of multi-cultural, loud, Jesus-focused worship. And it will be good! Until then, the privilege and task are before us.