Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Playdough Scripture John 4:19-24

"Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."

Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you can choose one of many worship centers to go to and worship each week (just make sure you pick a good brand) you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."

John 4:19-24 (Playdough Version)

A few thoughts...

Jesus says the Samaritans were worshiping a God they did not know. I find that interesting. How/why would they worship a God they did not know? If they didn't know Him, why would they worship Him. Just out of religious duty? Is it possible I've done the same? Is it possible to go to a place of worship, and do whatever worship stuff everyone else is doing, yet not personally know the one we worship?

My other thought is around the location of worship. Throughout history people seem to gravitate to certain places to worship. In ancient Canaan the place of worship was often on top of a hill. On top of the hill it was common to build a tall pole or column, and sometimes buildings. I guess the idea was the taller the structure, the closer to God. Now I know many churches are not built on hill-tops, but I wonder if the common church steeple is linked to this history. Instead of going to a hill-top where there is a tall pole, we go to a building with a tall pointed top.

Does Jesus' words to this Samaritan woman say anything to our perception that worshiping God is most frequently done at certain locations?


Al said...

Some excellent thoughts, Jon.

First, I like your question about worshiping a God we don't know. Oh, we think and say we know him, but really most of us accept what we have been taught--and that is sketchy at best--and we don't do a lot of searching ourselves.

And then the aspect of location of worship. I remember the idea of poking fun at the golfer who said he was worshiping God on the golf course on Sunday morning. And yet, God might well be encountered in nature on the course as easily as under stained glass or 'worship' music. One of the common euphemisms for 'Where do you go to church?' is 'Where do you worship?'. I feel like answering that one with 'Wherever I happen to be at the time' (which isn't only Sunday morning, either).

Jonathan said...

Thanks Al. I've been there too. In Bible school there were some who when to 'bedside baptist church' when the rest of us went to a real service. It was likely their excuse for sleeping in, but who's to say they were not spending equally valuable time worshiping.

I guess the challenge is to be worshiping God every minute... In that sense it is easier to set aside a time and location every week to worship, but we may forget God wants more.

Thanks Al.

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