Who’s got the right kind of worship? Who’s right?
John 4:19-26 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” 25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
Who is right?
There are so many churches and groups of Christianity.
They worship differently, focus their mission differently and some even think they are the best expression of what church should be.
Of course there are obvious similarities. The Bible for example. We all believe that though we can argue about the translations (we are so good at finding things to argue and differ about).
In that context we can understand this passage.
The Jews and Samaritans are different and don’t like each other because of their difference. The one thing they are together on, is the Torah (the first 5 O.T. books).
They each have the centres for their worship: the Mount Gerizim for the Samaritans and the Mount Zion in Jerusalem for the Jews.
However, when buildings, styles, practices, philosophies and mountains become the big deal then we have lost our way.
God is bigger than anything we build for Him, no matter if we build it out of some divine revelation we have had of Him.
You cannot squeeze the fullness of God into any ‘Temple’. The monopoly on truth never exists.
This is the one time when Jesus has an extended conversation about worship and it is with the wrong gender and a Samaritan of all people!
He says it is not about mountains and buildings. But about spirit and truth.
Worship is not about us but about God alone.
Worship is never about the songs we sing but who we sing them to.
Worship is more than the outward, that is only the expression of where worship comes from which is inside of us, born by the Spirit.
Worship engages our mind and our hearts. So we worship with the truth of Jesus’ teachings but also the alertness of our minds, authenticity with no sloppy lip-service.
We don’t necessarily have to come away from our Temples and Mountains so long as we realise that they in themselves don’t make us worshippers of God. Neither can we say because we have come away from the established Mountains of worship that we now are the enlightened ones who have the exclusivity of correct worship.
But we do need to let the streams of living water flow from within us to worship and we do need to be real, engaging our thoughts on Jesus the Truth bringing authentic worship to God.