We Can’t Usher Worshipers into the Presence of God

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usherThe need for an earthly mediator to facilitate our encounters with God or dispense His grace to us was set aside with the advent of the gospel. Now Jesus serves as our intercessor sitting at the right hand of the throne of God.

So worship leaders and the songs they sing can’t usher us into the presence of God, the death and resurrection of Jesus already has. When we ascribe that power to earthly leaders, we begin to see their leadership as something that is meritorious or efficacious, meaning their actions are praised for what they can produce.[1] Those worship actions can indeed prompt, exhort, encourage and remind us of God’s presence but they can’t generate it or lead us into it.

In the old covenant, access to God was limited. Only the high priest was allowed into the Holy of Holies one time a year with a blood offering (Heb 9). But in the new covenant the earthly priest was no longer required; the sacrifice was complete; Jesus’ blood was offered; and the way is open to worship Him without an earthly intercessor.

God’s presence isn’t a physical place we attend or an emotional plane we achieve so we don’t go to it, sing it into existence or usher people into it. Instead, we have confidence to enter that holy place only by the blood of Jesus. And as our usher, He then is not only the object of our worship but also the facilitator of it.

 

[1] Adapted from D.A. Carson, ed., Worship by the Book, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), 50.

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3 Responses to “We Can’t Usher Worshipers into the Presence of God”

  • David Manner Says:

    I appreciate the manifest presence reference, Grant. We don’t get a pass as worship leaders since we can’t make it happen. We do have the divine responsibility to remind or bring that to their attention. And sometimes even when we are supposed to be the designated leaders, our congregations are actually the ones who prompt or heighten our awareness.

  • Grant Norsworthy Says:

    Agreed! Well said.

    Language of a human musician (or anyone else) “ushering people into the presence of God” also denies, not only the omnipresence of God, but also His presence within each person who is in Christ – filled with the Holy Spirit.

    manifest 1 |ˈmanəˌfest|
    adjective
    clear or obvious to the eye or mind: the system’s manifest failings.

    What people might be referring to is the “manifest presence” of God. People have God’s presence brought more to their attention and awareness at certain times, in certain places and during certain activities.

    If only we were aware of His presence ALL the time.

  • Wayne Causey Says:

    yep. you nailed it

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