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No. 55: A Visionary Liturgy, Part 1

Rite Reasons, Studies in Worship, No. 55
Copyright (c) 1998 Biblical Horizons
January, 1998

A Visionary Liturgy (Part 1)

In the 48th year, the third month, and the fourteenth night, while I slept in my bed, I was taken in vision to Xanadu and set upon a high hill. Looking to the west, I saw a large building, surrounded with gardens and fountains, walks and gravestones, and a bell tower. There were gardens on the roof of the building also. Then I saw one like a bright angel walking ahead of me toward the building, and he beckoned me to follow him.

The Building

The messenger carried a measuring rod of five cubits in length, and each cubit was a cubit and a span. And as I watched, he measured the side of the building that faced west: 200 cubits. Then he measured the side of the building that faced south: 200 cubits. Then he rose into the air and measured the height of the building: 40 cubits along the outer walls, but rising to a higher peak in the middle.

Then he led me around the rest of the building. Each side of the building had large double doors in the center of the wall, doors ten cubits in height and five cubits in width. The doors facing west were of cypress wood, and were painted a deep red. The doors facing south were of almond wood, and were painted a deep green. The doors facing east were of olive wood, and were painted a bright white. The doors facing north were of cedar wood, and were painted a deep glossy black.

Over the door facing west was carved the head of a bull. Over the door facing south was carved the head of an eagle. Over the door facing east was carved the head of a lion. And over the door facing north was carved the head of a man.

On either side of each doorway, at a distance of five cubits from the wall, were two pillars, 20 cubits high. As one faced the doors from the outside, the pillar on the right was surmounted with a capital in the form of a scroll, while the pillar on the left was surmounted with a capital in the form of leaves, flowers, and fruits. All eight pillars were of marble the color of the doors they guarded, and the leaves, flowers, and fruits were painted in all colors.

On all four sides of the building were five rows of windows, indicating that the building had five stories. At the corners of the building were additional doors.

The man then led me into the building from the west. We opened the red doors and entered under the sign of the bull. Before us ran a red carpet, ten cubits in width, extending to the center of the building. From each of the other doors ran carpets of the color of the door, meeting around a fountain in the center of the building. The remainder of the floor of the building was carpeted in sky-blue.

The space on either side of the doors inside was 40 cubits in width, on all four sides. At the corners of the building were spacious flights of stairs leading to the upper and lower storeys. Between the doors and the stairwells along the sides of the inner wall were rooms of various sizes and purposes. Each story was similarly encircled with rooms, many much larger than those on the first storey.

The Great Room

Forty cubits inward from each of the four walls was the wall of the great room. The walls of this room on the first storey were of glass, while the walls above the first storey were painted sky blue. The height of the room was the height of the building: 40 cubits. Each wall measured 120 cubits.

Large glass doors, each the size of the outer doors, led into the great room on all four sides. Outside each door, woven into the carpet, was a large serpent with broken fangs.

To the left of each door as one enters, or to the right of each door as one faces outward from the center, was a platform three cubits high and ten cubits by ten cubits in area. Each platform was festooned with flowers. Above each platform was a shelf of wood slanted outward, for projecting sound into the room.

To the left of the western door on the platform was a pulpit with a parament of red, next to which stood a large candle. Also on the platform was a large slightly concave basin with a drain in the center, and next to it was a table with several large jars containing water. The wall behind this laver was of wood, and on it was painted the large bronze sea of Solomon’s Temple, above which hung a simple wooden cross.

Next to the platform on which the laver rested, to the north, was another platform two cubits high, 20 cubits in depth, and 35 cubits in width, on which were risers and chairs, evidently for a choir. Against the north wall, extending to the black carpet, was another platform of the same dimensions, evidently for musicians. Above these platforms was also a sounding board.

To the left of the door entering from the south, on its platform, I saw a large solitary chair, upholstered in green. The wall behind this dais was also of wood, and in front of it stood a large seven-branched candelabra.

To the right of this door was another platform, two cubits high and 20 cubits by 20 cubits in area. On it were a collection of similar chairs, each upholstered in green. This platform alone did not have a sounding board above it.

To the left of the door entering from the east, on its platform, was a pulpit with a parament of white on it, next to which stood two large candles. A large open Bible was enthroned on this pulpit. The wall behind this dais was of wood, with the ark of the covenant painted upon it.

To the left of the door entering from the north, on its platform, was a large table with golden dishes and many fine crystal glasses, next to which stood two large candles. The table had a parament of alternating black and white stripes. There was also a large chair with green upholstery, like the chair opposite it on the platform of the lampstand. The wall behind this platform was of wood, with the table of facebread painted on it.

The ceiling of the great room was painted gold. There was a large rose window in the center of it, extending upwards as a curved dome.

In the center of the room was a fountain five cubits in diameter, where the four colored carpets came together. A single jet of water arise from its center.

Around the room on all free sides were stacks of folding chairs and large cushions.

The one who was showing me these things addressed me, saying, "O Jim, have you seen all these things?" And I replied, "I have, sir." And he said to me, "Yet you will see things more amazing than this."

 

Magnificat

The Song of Mary

My soul magnifies the Lord,

And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior,

For He has regarded the low estate of His bondmaiden.

For behold, from now on all generations will count me blessed,

For the Mighty One has done great things for me,

And holy is His name.

And His mercy is upon generation after generation

Towards those who fear Him.

He has acted strongly with His arm;

He has scattered the proud in the imaginations of their hearts.

He has brought down the mighty from their thrones,

And exalted those of low estate.

The hungry He has filled with good things,

And the rich He has sent away empty.

He has given help to Israel, His servant,

So as to memorialize His mercy forever;

Just as He spoke to our fathers,

To Abraham and to his seed.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, age after age. Amen.