October 5, 2021
22 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites this: ‘You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven: 23 Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.
24 “‘Make an altar of earth for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, your sheep and goats and your cattle. Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you. 25 If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it. 26 And do not go up to my altar on steps, or your private parts may be exposed.’
One of the big parts of worship in the ancient world revolved around sacrifices. We can see lists of sacrifices that were required of Israel. Daily, weekly, monthly and annual. Sacrifices for repentance. Sacrifices of thanksgiving. Sacrifices of remembrance. Sacrifices that looked forward in hope. But in most cultures the sacrifices were in front of gold and silver idols. They were offered on ornate altars. They were set up on high places, to be closer the place of the gods.
Everything about this speaks of a different way of being as people and a different way of seeing God. Not seeing God as having to be placed on a pedestal, having to offer sacrifices that will make everyone take notice. Seeing that in all of this, while he is the one true God of the universe, the creator and sustainer of all things, he is not looking at fancy and ornate worship. He asks people to come in simple humility. Both God and people placing worship in a simpler mode.
I don’t think we have to get rid of all pieces of beauty in worship. I think using new and beautiful music is good for worship. I think older, formal pieces of worship – music and liturgy – are wonderful pieces of worship as well. It is not a battle of high church and low church, new or old. It is reminding us that the worship is about the God who calls us and saves us. Seeing that our worship expresses the desire to live as the people of God in his world and to hear that call as his people.
Each Sunday gathering of worship is about our place with God our Saviour. Celebration and commitment to that special calling as the people of God. Each day is an act of worship. Living out that calling as God’s people. Still hearing his words come to us as his people and speaking/singing words of praise. Living in the midst of the struggles of the world and our lives with the knowledge that God’s grace is still holding us in his hands. We always belong to him.
Worshipping God every day. Seeing his presence as grace today. With what we see as beautiful and what is simple, we praise our God together.
Song – O Praise the Name
Loving God, you take care of all our needs and love us more than we can imagine. You have given us everything, and we always need you. Thank you for never leaving us. Thank you for guiding us as we follow you and for speaking to us through Jesus, our Lord. Amen.