The Sabbath and Worship Music
Part 2 CHURCH MUSIC IN THE CONTEXT OF THE HEAVENLY SANCTUARY
For many Christian churches, worship service centers on what Christ has already accomplished in the past through His perfect life, atoning death, and glorious resurrection. By contrast, Seventh-day Adventist worship centers not only on these past redemptive accomplishments of our Savior, but also on His present ministry in the heavenly sanctuary and on His future coming to bring to consummation His redemption. Thus, all three dimensions of Christ’s minis- try—past, present, and future—are involved in Adventist worship.
Meeting with the Lord. It is noteworthy that the three distinctive Ad- ventist doctrines—the Sabbath, the Sanctuary, and the Second Advent—share a common denominator, namely, meeting with the Lord. On the Sabbath we meet the invisible Lord in time. In the Heavenly Sanctuary we encounter by faith the ministering Savior in place. At the Second Advent we shall be reunited with the visible Lord in space.
Meeting with the Lord in time on His Sabbath day, in place in His holy Sanctuary, and in space on the glorious day of His coming should constitute the focal points of Adventist worship. When Adventists assemble for worship, their desire should be to meet the Lord. By faith they should wish to meet the Lord, not only at Calvary on the Cross, where He paid the penalty of their sins, but also at the throne of God in heaven itself, where He ministers on their behalf.
In his book Sing a New Song! Worship Renewal for Adventists Today, Raymond Holmes wrote: “In our [Adventist] worship we enter the heavenly sanctuary by faith and are able to see the world, the purpose of the church, the ministry of our Lord, and our own lives from God’s all-encompassing perspective and not just from our own limited, self-centered, and narrow point of view.”13
The focus ofAdventist worship should be on the heavenly sanctuary where Jesus continually ministers in the heavenly liturgy on behalf of His people. “We have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the sanctuary and the true tent which is set up not by man but by the Lord” (Heb 8:1-2). It is because we have such a High Priest ministering in heaven that Hebrews says: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:16).
Church Worship to Reflect Heavenly Worship. The invitation to “draw near to the throne of grace” is obviously an invitation to worship by offering to