Bible Reading: “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in Truth.” John 4:24.
“To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.” William Temple, Arch Bishop of Canterbury.
What does worship mean? Is worship confined to ‘praise and worship’ singing time? Does true worship be limited to ‘Mega churches’? Is worship about entertainment and enjoyment?
In a very insightful conversation between the Samaritan woman and Jesus, we learn that we cannot limit our worship experience to a particular time, place or programs. Many of our youth have settled for a false imitation of worship, wherein worship is limited to a ‘feel good’ experience rather than experiencing the presence of God. Jesus tells the Samaritan woman that worship should not be confined to this mountain or that mountain, this temple or that temple, this church or that church; rather worship of God is a continuous process. Wherever two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” (Mathew 18:20)
In today’s world worship has become more of an entertainment, wherein we assume that the worship leaders are actors on the stage and the congregation is the audience. Our worship services are aimed at enabling the congregation to ‘enjoy’ the worship and not at ‘enriching their spiritual lives’. Apostle Paul challenges us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, bold and acceptable to God – this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)
Jesus exposes the false assumptions of worship and guides the Samaritan woman into an amazing recognition of God’s glory and God’s mission to save people from their sins. True worship erupts in the soul of one who understands that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes sins away. He is the living water that cleanses and quenches the deepest thirst of one’s soul.
God initiates worship by his acts of redeeming love; we must respond appropriately. Worship also should encourage us to go out into the world to be witnesses in our family and society at large just as the Samaritan woman left her water pot and went to the village to tell others to receive eternal life. Verse 39 reveals that many believed because of her testimony. Jesus invites us to explore the depths of God’s love through worship. Therefore, let us not limit worship to a set time, place, or activity. There is a beautiful hymn ‘When I survey the wondrous cross” which encapsulates the essence of worship: “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my, life, my all.” God is seeking true worshipers, and is longing for us to worship God in spirit and in truth, at all times, in all places and in every area of our lives.
Prayer: God of Life, we worship you for you deserve all the glory and honour. Help us to worship you at all times, in all places and in all area of our lives. Lead us to the living waters, quench our thirst and may we experience your love so that we become living witnesses. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Rev. B. J. Moses Shanthi Kumar (MSK)
CSI Medak Diocese