Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Worship (corporate) (10/04/07)
TITLE: In Spirit and Truth
By David F. Palmieri Sr.
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“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24)
Do we truly worship God in our, so-called, “Worship Service” on Sunday mornings? This may seem to be a curt question on my part, but maybe it’s time that somebody came out and asked it. Perhaps we each need to ask ourselves that same question.
I know there are those “special saints” in every congregation. You know who they are. They are the ones who come up to you and ask about a prayer request that you had four months ago. They’ve been praying all this time and you’ve already forgotten the request for prayer. Then there are those who sing with uplifted hands and closed eyes and a smile as if they can see the face of the Father before them. Sometimes we may even envy the “spirituality” we perceive they enjoy as they worship their Lord. These “saints” are in every congregation and thank God they are because in some churches they are the only true worshipers at the service.
Truthfully, let’s look at our typical “worship” service, at least in my neck of the woods. We rush around talking to everyone about this and that until the music minister finally gets us to stop and join in the opening hymn. We rush to find the correct song, looking at those around us to hold up their hymnal to show us the page number. We usually manage to locate it as the last verse is sung. Two or three songs later we may actually, “get into” some mode that feels good and spiritual. If it feels good it must be worship right?
The next thing you know we are going about the church shaking hands, hugging one another and planting an occasional kiss on the cheek to someone who is extra close to us. Half way through the next hymn we are all finally back in our seats again with songbooks open. Are we worshiping yet?
Announcement time; everything printed out in our bulletin must be announced as though no one is capable of reading. If we were in a “worship” mode after the singing we certainly fell out of it as we listen to the plans for the hayride, etc.
Tithes and offerings follow usually accompanied by some “special music” to get us in the mood for worship. A special presentation by the choir comes next followed by Amen’s and or clapping. We may have touched the hem of worship at this point because I know personally the preparation and prayer that goes into every choir presentation.
Another hymn is sung as the children are dismissed for, “Junior Church.” Often only one verse is sung at this time as the kid’s shuffle out into the foyer to meet their leaders, waving at friends and family as they go. The pastor approaches the pulpit and opens his Bible, he bows in prayer for the Lord’s blessing on his message.
Most pastors will give a good “scripture filled” sermon exhorting the congregation to apply it to their lives, close in prayer and announce the closing hymn. Before it’s over many hymnals will already be closed and the jingle of car keys can be heard above the sound of the voices.
We are a busy people. We have dinner in the oven, soccer games, picnics, shopping, and “The Big Game,” to get home to, but tell me please, at what point did we, as a church, worship God in spirit and in truth? Has our “worship service,” been a “Worship Service” ?
Am I being overly pessimistic? Yes, I admit I am, but maybe it’s time we each search our hearts and ask ourselves if we, as a church, are truly giving God the worship that he deserves, simply because of who He is.
…For the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.
I am just the, “messenger,” dear friends. If my letter does not apply to you I sincerely ask your forgiveness. If it does, my prayer for you is that the Holy Spirit of God shows you the path to true worship of our loving heavenly Father.
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