“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.”
The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming.
When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
John 4:21-26 NIV
(Ok, so maybe this wasn't exactly what the message was about, but it is what I tuned into.)
It is interesting that the text speaks of "true worshipers." If there are true, there must be false. (This is a little scary, especially because it echoes that passage when people are trying to come into heaven and Jesus says, "I do not know you." My fear here is that they knew him, they expected to be with him. May I never take his grace for granted!) While I do not believe my worship is false, it is sometimes a bit on the pathetic side, definitely not worthy of my God. I am often distract by work, by the emptiness of the chairs I wish were filled with people I care about, by my own self consciousness, or even just by my own critical spirit telling me that I may not be worshipping "right."
Truth is easy, isn't it? Even the Samaritan woman tells us that the Messiah would explain everything. For those of us who have become convinced that Jesus is the Messiah, we have his words, the history and traditions of the Judeo-Christian people, and the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth. But, worshipping in truth. Is it really that easy? Have you ever been at worship and found yourself angry or sad or guilty but you just keep singing mediocre songs with a dead heart and a walled off mind? Why can't we be who we are outside of the church walls? Why is it easier to be honest with God when no one is around? Or is it just me?
Then there are other questions: What does worshipping in spirit mean? How does my spirit worship? Is it that strange prayer language the more expressive Christians speak of? What is worship? Is it only singing? Is worship only a good feeling of amazement?
I think worship is as simple and difficult as remembering that God is so much greater than me, knowing he is worthy of all that I have to give-every talent & treasure & breath, a coming to the throne in awe that God loves me. When I do that with all of my heart and mind and soul that I can muster (because I am not going to pretend that I can give myself wholly), that is what God desires-all of me, or at least my best offering of myself.
And this worship-in Truth & in Spirit-changes me. It changes my mind, my heart, my purpose. I leave, more whole, more light. When I leave corporate (church) worship, my worship does not stop, but it continues...into how I treat people: the drivers in the parking lot, my family, my waitress, the refs in the football game, into how I show my reverence for God as an employee on Monday, and so on.
Worship is an ordering of my life around that thing that is worthy of my devotion, not a 3 minute song. I hope I get better at remembering this and living it.