The word glory (in Hebrew “cavod”) literally means “heavy” or “weighty”. To glorify something is literally to make it weigh more, to make it heavier, to make something or someone substantial. Often, in the ancient world this is what literally happened. People “glorified” the king by bringing their riches to him. Kings and nobles were “glorious” in this basic sense by how heavy their bags were with gold and riches. And the opposite is true. When the glory departs, when something becomes ‘ichabod’, it follows that it has become “light” and “flimsy”. It has lost its substance; it is not something to be reckoned with. When we gather to worship we are entering into the Triune fellowship. We are entering into the eternal dance of the Father, Son and Spirit where each is giving up himself for the others, bestowing glory upon the others. It is important to point out that we are not adding glory to God, when we “give Him glory.” Rather, in Christ, we are adding all that we are to the glory that already exists. In other words, giving God glory means agreeing and declaring that everything is already His. To give God glory is to say that all riches, all honor, all substance of life and being are already found in Him. When we say “glory to God in the highest” or “All glory, laud and honor…” we are ascribing to God ownership, lordship of everything. There is a sense in which we are in the Triune Life every moment of every day of our Christian lives by the power of the Spirit and that is how we may rightfully say that we bring glory to God in our families, work, and recreation. But the Bible teaches that in worship, we are gathered up into the heavenly Jerusalem in a unique and powerful way. In a way that expresses and joins the glory of the Trinity that does not happen in family devotions or a personal prayer time (as good as those things may be). But the wonderful and mysterious truth is that in worship we cannot change God by adding or taking anything away from Him. But wonder upon wonder, God accepts our affirmations of His lordship and then turns and bestows His glory upon us. We surely cannot change God, but in the very act of worship, God is surely changing us, bestowing His glory, His weight, His substance upon us. God, the great King, comes and serves His people, as though we were kings, as though we were nobility. For Jesus did not come to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.
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