True Worship (24-04-21)
Bible Reading: John 4:19-24
"Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain,
but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."
"Woman," Jesus replied, "believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You Samaritans worship what you do not know;
we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father
in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth."
When it comes to missing something we have previously valued there are two conflicting sayings, ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’ and ‘Out of sight, out of mind’. I wonder which saying applies to the way you approach church and the worship of God post lockdown. How have you coped with worshipping God online and in the seclusion of your own home? How do you feel about coming back together at a regular time and in a church building?
I know that I can worship God in my home on my own, in the quietness, or with a CD, or in an online service. I know I can worship God in the beauty of his creation, in the garden or out in the countryside. I also understand that the way I live my life can be an act of worship to God. But I have really missed the corporate expression of worship as part of the gathered Christian family. There is something uplifting and strengthening about worshipping together with other Christians.
When Jesus talks to the Samaritan woman about worship he makes some interesting points. He suggests that the venue for our worship is not the most important factor. How do you feel about that in a multi-church benefice?
He then says that the Samaritans worship what they do not know, but we worship what we do know. Worship for Christians is about relationship. What difference does it make to you that you can know the God whom you worship, and that you are known by him?
And then Jesus says that his worshippers must worship in Spirit and in truth. To understand this I find it helpful to think about avoiding the opposites which, for me, would be ritual and rote. We use some great words and music in our prayers and our singing. May the words we use always be words we mean and not just words that we recite, and may our worship always be more about what glorifies God and less about what I enjoy.
Almighty God I thank you that I can worship you
as Father and as Creator, as Saviour and as Friend,
as Holy Spirit and as Comforter.
I give you all the honour (I worship you)