Currently we find ourselves in the midst of a lot of change, especially when it comes to our routines. One thing that doesn’t change is God’s word and the truth contained in it. Jesus told his disciples that if we would abide in his word we would know the truth and it would set us free.
Spiritual and Physical People
One of the things that has changed for us at least outwardly is our place of worship. Most of us are grateful for the alternative of worshipping together online as the service is streamed or as we hold small groups via video conferencing. However those settings are just not the same as being together with God’s people on a Sunday morning or Wednesday night! We are not only spiritual people but those who inhabit flesh and blood. Being together physically is important to us.
As we will very soon begin to meet again on Sunday mornings we'll also be challenged—again, at least for some time—by a different physical way of worshipping together. Initially we'll be further apart and certain ministries will not be in operation (children's ministry, coffee, prayer team after the service). This can be distracting and for some of us annoying (no coffee?!?!).
Worship in Spirit and Truth
At times like this I think it is important to remember Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well in John 4. In an attempt to keep Jesus from getting more personal with her the woman brings up a religious question and controversy. She pits her Samaritan background against that of the Jews. The Samaritans' place of worship was on Mt. Gerizim whereas the Jews worshipped in the city of Jerusalem where the temple was. Jesus did not take the bait but used the conversation as a time to communicate a much greater truth than she anticipated. He told her true worshippers are those who worship in spirit and truth, and the Father is actually seeking those types of followers.
Then you have our typical preferences about worship. We, along with millions of other Christians, have our preferences about the type of music, the instruments, the liturgy being used, the length of time and how expressive one is are all examples of things which are a priority to each of us. These are important aspects, but the most important question for me whether I find myself at my sister-in-law’s Presbyterian church or ours is, “Am I worshipping the Lord in spirit and truth?" I may have to work harder to worship in spirit and truth when I’m in an unfamiliar or less “ideal” situation, but I’m still called to do so because the Father is seeking out those types of worshippers. It pleases him and gives him glory and is a joy to me.
Worshipping in spirit and truth is most importantly done in our hearts and rooted in what God’s word says about him and what he’s done for us in Christ. That’s why we can worship while we’re driving down the road or in our prayer closet at home or in our living room or together on a Sunday morning.
Worshiping Amidst Distractions
Life is full of distractions and learning to deal with them and focusing on the greatness and glory and beauty of God is what worship is all about. May the Lord help us to do so during this season of life as a worshipping community.