I was reading Exodus 28 which describes the garments Aaron and his sons would wear as priests coming before God in the Tabernacle. A couple of things stood out for me. One was that their garments be made by people whom God filled with the spirit of skill. These garments were intended for leading worship be made of gold, blue, purple and scarlet yarns and fine linen. They were to be for “glory and beauty.” Not for the priest but for God.
The garments were a sign that the priest was consecrated and set aside “for my priesthood.” This honor was not about the priest, but about God, who had brought them out of Egypt and was leading them to a promised land.
Among the decorations on these holy garments were to be two onyx stones attached to the shoulders. These stones were to be engraved with the names of the twelve tribes, “for remembrance.” The priest came before God carrying God’s people on his shoulders. The inscribed onyx stones also reminded the people they were being brought before God who rescued them. The stones also reminded God that these were his people with whom he had made an everlasting covenant to be their God.
These same emphases are part of our worship today, when the pastor/ priest stands before God as the congregation’s representative. It’s not about the person standing in the chancel, but about God and His people. Therefore, whatever the pastor/priest does should be well done in bearing the people on his/her shoulder before God and also given the responsibility of speaking for God to the people.