But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
In spirit and truth.
In response to a question about places of worship, Jesus tells a Samaritan woman of a coming shift in perspective. Soon (indeed, sooner than many of the day realized), true worship would no longer be identified with a specific location, neither at Jerusalem (where the Jews worshiped) nor Mount Gerizim (where the Samaritans worshiped). True worshipers would worship in spirit and truth.
But what does it mean to worship in spirit and truth?
How do you feel when you see others receiving blessings you feel have been denied you? What do you do when your faithfulness to the Lord is met not with granted requests but with frustrated plans and deferred hopes? Do you patiently wait upon the Lord and trust his love for you, or do you grow bitter? Do you rejoice with those who are rejoicing, or do you resent those who possess what you desire?
In water did this story start,
In water did it end;
And water now reminds my heart
Of all the ways I sinned.
My brother-enemy arrived,
A gift born from the Nile.
Where others perished, he survived,
Vital’ty from the vile.
He learned our ways but kept his kin
Within his heart and will.
Seeing “injustice” ‘mongst his men,
He chose to act, to kill.
In fear he fled (I knew not where).
I thought him lost for good.
Then he returned with greying hair
And with a staff of wood.
“Freedom to worship” was his cry,
Presumpt’ous his request.
“Increase the work” was my reply,
And put his god to test.
Then came the signs, small at the first,
Then day by day they grew.
From blood to dark to death, the worst
Came to my home. I knew
My gods had each been overruled,
Their promises proved wrong.
I knew in them we had been fooled
When mourning was our song.
So I relented and released
The captives to the wild.
The land had rest. The plagues then ceased.
My reign had been defiled.
And so I brooded, plotted, chose
To turn around my loss,
And with a burning vengeance, rose
To catch before their cross.
And there I found them, easy prey,
Defenseless ‘gainst my might,
And I beheld his god that day
Work wonders in my sight.
Now all is lost. Now I depart.
My wisdom I rescind.
In water did his story start.
In water did mine end.
Photo by Ali Hegazy on Unsplash
Thanks to Dustin Hadley for the suggestion for today’s poem.
“It is well with my soul.”
God of burning bushes, smoking mountains,
Clouds and flaming pillars in the distance,
God who spoke the earth into existence,
Calling from dry rocks fresh, flowing fountains,
Are you just as present in the present,
In the average and ordinary?
Does your presence with us ever vary
If our days are boring or unpleasant?
For, it seems, our lives are unexciting,
Work and worship in a world of faces–
Seems so commonplace, these common places.
Is it true, O God, you are inviting
Those with ears to hear to live in wonder?
In our silence, might we hear your thunder?
Photo by Jeff Sheldon on Unsplash
Let them know me not for my mind
Or my manners. Keep from them all
Tendency to love my name (kind
Flattery). Their praise is my fall,
For I know my heart enough to
Predict its vain response. They call
For me, and I shamefully do
All that I can to earn their awe.
I must decrease. I must decrease,
For I, though only briefly, saw
Your glory. Arrogance must cease,
For you alone warrant all fear
And worship. You who dwell above
Creation yet art ever near,
You meet us with your perfect love.
I am undone. Let me then be
A humble vessel. Let my boast
Be only of your grace to me.
O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
This clay can claim no title. You
Alone are worthy. Let all eyes
That look on me always see through
And your great glory recognize.
Be evident in all I do.
Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash
Have you ever felt that you could not, in good conscience, sing a specific worship song?
As the band played one of the first songs of the evening session and the conference attendees sang along in worship, we noticed the fire alarm.
We may not sense the abnormality,
For our appearance does not show the flaw;
But let us look within and we will see
A core not in accord with natural law.
Our symptoms show themselves in varied ways,
Outward effects which hint at inner fault.
All people, fixed and fallen, offer praise,
But differ in the objects they exalt.
And thus most men believe that they are whole,
For they, with eyes untrained, cannot detect
The devastating sickness in the soul
Which works to their eternity infect.
Our only hope is heaven’s holy art,
The surgeon who can fix a backwards heart.
Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash