"When he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp & golden bowl of incense, which are the prayers of the saints."
Puffy white clouds... lots of harps... angels with wings... that's the "Hallmark version" of Heaven. Sickening sweet & sterile. And yet, when we get into the last book of the Bible - REVELATION - the picture actually changes a bit. No clouds are mentioned. There are 'celestial beings' with harps - but they're the "Twenty-Four Elders" (the number 24 probably coming from the 12 Tribes of Israel + the 12 Apostles of Jesus!). Their job is to worship Jesus (the Lamb who was slain). it's not their harps, but that they're holding in their OTHER hands that intrigued me, though. Golden bowls of incense. (Could this be a nod of solidarity to our Buddhist brothers and sisters?!?) The bowls hold, we are told, "the prayers of the saints." Wow! How cool is that?!?
What an image - our prayers gathered in golden bowls... held by those closest to the King... standing before the throne of God... with our prayers wafting up to the Throne as incense smoke rises. Awesome.
And yet, the question that strikes me hardest as I write this... have I been filling the golden bowls? Sure I know we an pray anytime & anywhere... but do we? Do I? Especially as the senior pastor of a church, my responsibility is huge! I definitely have work to do here.
How about you?