2015 Verse of the Week #36: John 4:23-24

This week’s verses can be heard in the song “God is Spirit” on the Seeds Family Worship album The Character of God. Here is the passage:

John 4:23-24

23 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. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

I’ve been enjoying Labor Day weekend, so I hope I can keep this post short in order to enjoy a little more rest before preschool and youth ministry kick off this week. I also hope I can keep it short because I chopped my hand up while slicing some carrots Sunday night. Boo! I mandolin-sliced chunks off of the edge of my hand and the tip of one of my fingers. This is all on my right hand, so writing, typing, self-care, and pretty much all routine tasks are challenging at the moment. And probably for the next several days.

Anyway, after Sunday’s church service I am ready for this passage! I was given the privilege of leading worship, and because the message was focused on the Spirit (Galatians 5) I chose songs that I prayed would tune our minds and hearts in that direction. And, as always, God came through. I got to see and hear evidence of his faithful presence in the praises of his people. By the grace of God we were worshiping together in spirit and truth: celebrating who God is, his love for us, the sacrifice of Jesus, the presence of the Spirit with the redeemed, and recognizing corporately our humble position before God’s righteousness. I love hearing the sound of hundreds of voices praising the Lord, and our congregation was really going for it! I am so encouraged by that sound and feeling.

So with that image, sound, and feeling in mind I will be meditating on John 4:23-24. These words of Jesus were spoken to the woman at the well in Samaria, and the entire story can be found in the first 45 verses of John chapter 4. It’s an amazing story! In the verses of interest, Jesus is telling the Samaritan woman that soon “true worship” of God will not be about going to the correct temple but about the heart of each worshipper. Jesus’ sacrifice as part of God’s great plan to reconcile creation to himself would– and did– change everything.

It is the same now. Worshipping God is not about going to the right church, singing the right songs, or doing a specific set of religious actions. Church services and music and religiosity are actually only a very small part of our worship. We are to serve God with our entire lives, following his Spirit and allowing him to cultivate his fruit in our hearts.

My prayer for myself this week is that God will use the powerful memory of the voices of my church family and the feeling of unity in worship to remind me to seek him in everything I do. And to remember what matters most to him: the heart of the worshipper… my heart. All I need to do is surrender it to him and he will work, as he always does.

I’m also praying for my slices to heal. 🙂

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