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Spectator, Gates or Courts?

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

I do love a good wedding, and a Royal wedding is an extra special occasion. Almost a year ago our nation stopped to celebrate the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Families and friends gathered to watch it together on the TV, some made the trip to line the streets of Windsor and cheer as the procession went past, some made it into the grounds and were there to greet the happy couple as they came out of the chapel as husband and wife. A few of the chosen elite were there in the service to see it all happen live. It was a happy occasion when much of the nation joined in the celebrations in some form or other.

I was watching the proceedings, and, along with many other people, was surprised at some of the slightly less formal parts of the service. But there was something else that started to dawn on me… while there was one event happening, there were several layers of involvement.

When Harry & Meghan stepped out of the chapel and onto the steps there was a huge cheer. You could hear the sound of Stand By Me being sung by a gospel choir floating down behind them. The crowd was delighted to see the newlyweds, but until this point they had only heard the echoes of what was happening during the wedding, they had not been a part of it. They had not been in the presence of royalty, but had been content with a quick sighting from afar.

A year or so ago I noticed something in Psalm 100. “I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart, I will enter His courts with praise.” There are 2 places we can get to in our worship. We can go through the gates, or we can get into the courts. A lot of that is down to us and where we position ourselves within worship – no-one is exempt from the presence of The King.

So, how do we do that? Psalm 100 gives us a brilliant start… Thanksgiving and praise. No matter what season we’re in or challenges we’re facing, there is always something we can find to be thankful for. Thankfulness dramatically changes our perspective. Once we see our good God, praise naturally follows and takes us further up the ladder. Praise leads to worship, adoration, hearts connecting and that’s when we hit the courts of the living God.

It’s a privilege to be in the court of the King, the guests in the chapel at Windsor were the elite, the personally invited, the rich and famous, they were vetted and went through security processes… it was for the few.

The courts of heaven, however, are a very different place indeed. They are open wide to every strata of society. The King of kings, the Lord of lords, the living God gives open access to His throne room and invites us in to join Him there. We’re unlikely to find that invitation from any other royal source! But our Holy God draws us to Him, beckons us in and says “Come, meet with me.”

I know where I want to be… I don’t want to be a spectator, watching what’s happening but having no real connection with the event.

I don’t want to be in the right area, catching a taste of what’s happening but missing what’s actually happening.

I want to be in the heart of things, seeing it for myself, hearing things as they should be, not muffled or distorted by walls and gates…

… I want to be there with The King, seeing Him, hearing Him, connecting with Him… and the incredible thing is, He wants that too.

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