Worshiping God is sacred. At we assemble with the church, we gather together in attempt to present our bodies a living sacrifice to a Holy God. We come before Him to worship for His goodness to us in our lives. But we also desire to feel His presence, petition Him in corporate prayer, and learn from His word.
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.Jesus, John 4:24
Jesus expresses this as worshiping “in spirit and in truth” in John chapter 4. Those two terms, spirit and truth, both confine what we do in worship to that which is found on the pages of Holy Writ by way of command or example but also exclude a dry, heartless, feigned show of religion. God must be worshiped in accordance with the Biblical pattern but we are to worship from the heart, unlike the nation of Israel so many times in their history.
On Sunday mornings, I usually select and lead the first hymn of our worship. I make an effort to select hymns that either draw our focus to the gravity of the moment or petition God to be in our midst. Technically, this first hymn is the “call to worship,” the moment in which our attention is given to Christ and His cause.
As I was reading hymns yesterday morning, I was reminded of In Thy Great Name by Joseph Hosking (1745-1788). Its utility in our hymnals is that of a call to worship, as the words of this hymn frame our minds, expressing the proper attitude and also the purpose of gathering in the Lord’s name on the Lord’s Day.
1 In Thy great name, O Lord, we come,
To worship at Thy feet;
Oh, may Thy holy Spirit rest
On all that now shall meet.
2 We come to hear Jehovah speak,
To hear the Saviour’s voice:
Thy face and favor, Lord, we seek,
Now make our hearts rejoice.
3 Teach us to pray and praise, and hear,
And understand Thy word;
To feel Thy blissful presence near,
And trust our living Lord.
4 Here let Thy power and grace be felt;
Thy love and mercy known;
Our icy hearts, dear Jesus, melt,
And break this flinty stone.
5 Let sinners, Lord, Thy goodness prove,
And saints rejoice in Thee;
Let rebels be subdued by love,
And to the Saviour flee.
6 This house with grace and glory fill,
This congregation bless;
Thy great salvation now reveal,
Thy glorious righteousness.