Pristine Grace

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Santa Fe & John 4:23-24
by Eileen Beckett
Santa Fe & John 4:23-24

This last summer I went, with a friend, to Santa Fe. She goes there often because it is such a delightful place and she decided I needed a treat to get away for a couple of days. The one attraction that I truly enjoyed the most, besides the drive and scenery on the way, was the beauty of the cathedrals that we visited. I had never been in a cathedral and I found them absolutely fascinating. I walked around with my mouth open most of the time looking at the depictions of the life of Christ vividly portrayed in statues on the walls. I was immersed in this ‘feeling’ of awe and reverence.

Knowing, as I do, my own hearts propensity to idolatry, I also understood the temptation to visual idolatry in such an awesome place and so I came away thankful that I didn’t worship in a setting like that every Sunday as it is certainly possible to worship idols in reverence.

The reason this came to mind is because of a conversation I was involved in about worship. There was a comparison made between the worship we have in our churches and how we should be more reverential, more in awe, more quiet, etc, just as they used to worship in the catholic church. I didn’t take offense at that statement, however the first thing that popped into my mind was John 4:23-24“ But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. So speaking what was on my mind I brought that up. Without judging the individual heart, would they be worshipping in spirit and in truth? Would their outward displays of piety and their mass of ceremonies be true worship even though they might be reverential?

What is it to worship in spirit and in truth ( in my simple terms) but the inward faith of the heart, lifted up in prayer, in hearing, in praise, in joy, in hope, in reverence of our divine God, in the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and all accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit, without whom our true worship would not be possible.

It is to worship with a conscience purged from dead works:

“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14).

True worship will always cause us to hold in reverence our most Holy God, in Sunday worship as He meets with us corporately, it will be evident in our services and our response, but that will come from the inward heart, just as it does in our private worship as well. The outward actions alone can never bring about worship of the Father in spirit and in truth.

“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phi 3:3)