Good Morning and welcome to Worship today. Our family is on our annual holiday for two weeks and today we are setting up our tents and camping site at a caravan park in Yamba, NSW. I haven’t missed many worship services on a Sunday, but today I’m experiencing how it feels to know that my church family is in worship at home while I’m elsewhere. I’m very appreciative of Jill and Marty’s ministry amongst us as they lead you in worship and seek to continue our series on The Heart of Worship. We are in the midst of building one of our four pillars – the pillar of worship.
Jill will be addressing the aspect of worship that picks up the theme of worshipping God in Spirit and Truth. I’d like to share some reflections on that theme from the pen of Selwyn Hughes and Philip Greenslades in their daily devotional called Every Day with Jesus dated 11th October 2013. They have based the following reflections on the passage that Jill is using today with you at Ashmore Uniting Church. It is from John 4:1-26. “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth…’(v23).
Today we pick up on the words of Jesus in which He says that the Father seeks worshippers. And so the main focus of our meditations is now made by Jesus Himself. It could be said that Jesus came to seek and save the Father’s lost worshippers. This one Samaritan woman, who had sought to satisfy her deep spiritual thirst possibly through sexual fulfillment, comes ‘thirsty’ to the well. There she meets the One who has living water to offer – water that will satisfy her parched heart and end her relentless search for inner peace and happiness.
Jesus introduces a new thought into the concept of worship: we are saved in order to worship the Father ‘in spirit and truth’. God is Spirit, and we worship Him properly when we are in a spiritual relationship with Him. To worship ‘in spirit’ is explained by George Beasley-Murray in this way: ‘The worship that God seeks is not frozen to a sacred building … or tradition, but a worship which is living, the ever new response to God who is Spirit as prompted by and enabled by the Spirit of God.’
If that is what is meant by worshipping ‘in spirit’ what does it mean to worship ‘in truth’? Well, it means so much more than worshipping sincerely because it is possible to be sincere but sincerely wrong. To worship ‘in truth’ is to offer worship that is rooted in knowledge, in contrast to the Samaritan woman’s ignorance (v.22). It is worship based upon the reality, which is revealed in Jesus Christ who is Himself the truth. Anew day has dawned, said Jesus. The time has come when no longer does worship depend on sacrifices or rituals. We are free to worship God anywhere and everywhere.
Today as our family set up our campsite in the beautiful surrounds of the Clarence River in the Blue Dolphin Caravan Park in Yamba, we will be taking hold of that thought of worshipping God ‘anywhere and everywhere’, as we worship in the outdoors today, in Spirit and in Truth.
God bless you as worship God every day …. this week ….. in Spirit and in Truth.
Rev. Brad Foote