Worship as Sacrifice

“O Lord and heavenly Father we thy humble servants entirely desire thy fatherly goodness mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving… And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy and lively sacrifice unto thee… And although we be unworthy, through our manifold sins, to offer unto thee any sacrifice, yet we beseech thee to accept this our bounden duty and service.”

–from the Prayer of Oblation (1662)

Overcome by His Glory

“The priests left the holy place. All the priests who participated had consecrated themselves, no matter which division they represented. All the Levites who were musicians, including Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons and relatives, wore linen. They played cymbals and stringed instruments as they stood east of the altar. They were accompanied by 120 priests who blew trumpets. The trumpeters and musicians played together, praising and giving thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals, and other instruments, they loudly praised the LORD, singing: ‘Certainly he is good; certainly his loyal love endures!’ Then a cloud filled the LORD’s temple. The priests could not carry out their duties because of the cloud; the LORD’s splendor filled God’s temple.”  (2 Chronicles 5:11-14)

The greatest compliment I ever got from worship leading (and, alas, it only happened once or twice) was: “You seemed to disappear, and we only saw Jesus!” Like the Israelite priests, may our efforts at worship leading be overcome and overshadowed by the glory of God in the midst of His people, so that we can no longer “carry out our duties” but only wonder at what God is showing us of Himself.