In Spirit And In Truth
~ John 4:21-24 ~

 

"Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true
worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth,
for they are the kind of worshiper the Father seeks."
(John 4:23)

 

  
I love this story for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the sheer boldness of the woman Jesus encounters. For starters, she has three strikes against her at the outset of this dialog. She's a woman - a second-class citizen in the view of many in the culture of the day. Then, she's a Samaritan - worse than a second-class citizen. No self-respecting Jewish man would be caught dead speaking with someone of that lineage. Finally, she's been married more than a couple of times, and the guy she's living with now hasn't even tied the knot with her.
 
    Jesus apparently knows all about her and she perceives Him as a prophet. Immediately she turns the discussion into one about worship; specifically one about stylistic differences and preferences. Sort of a precursor to our discussions today over the unfortunately-labeled wors hip wars. "Our fathers worshiped on this mountain," she says. "But you Jews worship in Jerusalem." (Sound familiar? We say stained glass, hymnals and a pipe organ; but you say theatre lighting, projected lyrics and a band.)
    Jesus cuts her off at the pass and enlightens her to the fact that worship isn't about location or atmosphere or accompaniment or architecture. It's not even about style. It is, however, about spirit and truth. It is about a passionate offering of ourselves to the God who had revealed Himself to us in His Son. And it's all about the God we seek desperately to know.

    A pastor friend of mine says that worship without spirit is dead orthodoxy. And worship without truth is shallow emotionalism. You have to have both.

    Ultimately, what the Father seeks is really none of the things we get hung up about. He's not seeking personalities or programs or song sets. He's seeking worshipers.
    That's me and that's you.
                                                                                                      - Excerpted from "In Spirit and In Truth"