Sunday, November 27, 2011

They That Worship


"Our fathers worshipped in this mountain;
and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship."
Jesus saith unto her, "Woman, believe me, the hour cometh,
when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem,
shall ye worship the Father.
Ye worship that which ye know not:
we worship that which we know;
for salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour cometh, and now is,
when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth:
for such doth the Father seek to be his worshippers.
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
John 4:20-24

This is a passage which I have always read and passed, slightly confused.
I think it began to open to me today.

For some time, I have been aware of a "Christian" materialism
that seeps into our hearts.
It denies the spiritual in all but name.
It acts without regard to the leading of the Holy Spirit,
without hope in the active presence of God,
and without any attention to the Christ at all.
It's a deadly plague, in my opinion.

Some time back, in paying attention to Elijah's first spoken words in the Scripture,
("As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand..."),
I found myself praying that I would see the unseen.
Sometimes I have wondered if that was a well-advised prayer.
Because I start seeing Him best in sorrow, it seems.

"I heard, and my body trembled, My lips quivered at the voice;
Rottenness entereth into my bones, and I tremble in my place;
Because I must wait quietly for the day of trouble,
For the coming up of the people that invadeth us.
For though the fig-tree shall not flourish, Neither shall fruit be in the vines;
The labor of the olive shall fail, And the fields shall yield no food;
The flock shall be cut off from the fold, And there shall be no herd in the stalls:
Yet I will rejoice in Jehovah, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
Jehovah, the Lord, is my strength;
And he maketh my feet like hinds' feet,
And will make me to walk upon my high places."
Habakkuk 3:16-19

Jesus said that the Father was seeking those
who would worship Him in spirit and in truth.
And true worship continues, though the material world fails utterly.
But I wonder if the Lord not only looks for those worshippers,
but in a sense builds them out of us?
So many of the Psalms express devastation in the midst of worship.
Or perhaps even as a prerequisite to true worship.
That passage in Habakkuk shows a turning of the heart
from the material to the spiritual, I think.
We become aware of our existence first here in the material world,
and we worship in the material.
We have to learn to see the unseen.
To be His when no fruit is on the vine and all the material fails.

The Samaritan woman asked Jesus where the right place was to worship.
But God is Spirit.
He isn't confined to Jerusalem or Samaria --
to times of plenty, and locations of holiness.
In declaring a major drought, Elijah said he stood and lived before the Lord.
"By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph;
and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff."
Hebrews 11:21

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