“…Mine is the world, and the fulness thereof. Shall I eat of the flesh of bulls? Or the blood of goats, shall I drink it? Sacrifice unto God (Θῦσον τῷ Θεῷ) a sacrifice of praise (θυσίαν αἰνέσεως), and pay unto the Most High your vows… A sacrifice of praise (θυσία αἰνέσεως) shall glorify me, and there is the way wherein I shall show him my salvation.” (Ps 49: 13b-15, 24, LXX)
God does not “need“ any of our “things,“ which we may think to “sacrifice“ or offer to Him, because the whole world is already His. “Mine is the world,“ He reminds us in this psalm, “and the fulness thereof.“ What He is teaching us, by allowing for various “offerings“ in the Old Testament, is self-offering. It’s the whole “point“ of the Law, and was fulfilled in the unique, once-and-for-all Self-offering of God’s only-begotten Son.
Throughout Salvation History, God wants to liberate us from “the bondage of self“; to help us break out of self-centered isolation, that we may move beyond ourselves and live life as we were meant to, in communion with Him and others. He wants us to let go of our endless, “Yes, but…“ that so often blocks us from accepting God’s grace, and instead to embrace gratitude, humility, acceptance, and even “praise.“ This “sacrifice of praise“ is like a candle: When we allow ourselves to “burn“ with God’s praise, our “self“ (like the wax of the candle) is diminished, and yet extended, multiplied and transfigured into warmth and light beyond ourselves, by God’s grace.
Perhaps for many of us, like Leonard Cohen, “it’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah,“ our “sacrifice of praise,“ but one that is gradually being healed and helped along, in the life-long adventure that is our cross-carrying journey. So let me let go of my “Yes, but-s,“ light a candle before my icons, and praise God a bit today. Слава Богу за всё!