Authentic Worship   4 comments


worshipIn my devotional reading this morning, I read John 4:16-26 in Eugene Petersen’s The MessageThis passage is part of the discussion that Jesus is having with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well.  They are talking about the right place to worship God.  Jesus says to the woman:

“Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”

This caused me to think about how I present myself in worship.  I don’t think that I am very different from most individuals who have grown up in the church.  I have learned the rules about behavior and what is acceptable and what is not.  I remember my mother reinforcing those rules if I happened to forget them on occasion.  But I am not sure that I ever learned to be authentic in my worship.

Jesus tells the woman that what God is seeking is those individuals “who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship.”  To me that is calling me to be authentically myself when I am engaged in the worship of my Lord.  That is where the conflict can arise for me.  I know the “proper way to worship” that I was taught growing up in a small, rural, mainline denomination church.  But I also know that I never felt very exposed to the possibility that the Spirit may be moving through our worship and that may move us to be emotional, to be energetic, to show acts of humility, or any other expressive forms of worship.  Yet, at various times in worship, I feel moved to express what I sense the Spirit prompting inside of me.  So by stifling those expressions, am I failing to be authentic?

Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for the nurturing, love, guidance and opportunities that I was given in my childhood church and the many churches that I have been blessed to be a part of.  My faith and my response to the Lord were directly influenced by those witnesses in each of the congregations.  I am part of a great heritage that has helped shaped who I am. 

My challenge this morning as I read Jesus’ words was to understand what it means to be authentic in worship.  Beyond the idea of authentically expressing what the Spirit is doing in and through me, I think that there is also the reality of coming as who I truly am and not the image that I have created to fit the norms of the worship setting.  The truth is that I am a perpetual sinner in need of the continued grace of God.  I am not perfect in the slightest way.  That being said, I am also the forgiven child of God.  So while it is right for me to approach worship as a humbled person because of my sin and my need of grace, it is also right for me to approach worship with great joy due to the grace and forgiveness that is contained in my identity as a child of God.

I am sure there are other aspects of authentic worship that I need to continue to explore.  This is just where the ball has begun rolling this morning.  I invite others to share comments about authentic worship and the words Jesus said to the Samaritan woman.

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4 responses to “Authentic Worship

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  1. This is an amazing post as it speaks to honestly and accurately to what we struggle with as we keep learning who we are as authentic children of the King of Kings. It can be difficult to strike aa balance between living into that self which we are meant to be, yet presenting it to a community in a way which blesses Him. Does this mean letting our light so shine that all at once there are shockwaves hitting the group and if so does this draw folks to Him in a deeper way or not? There’s no simple answer and sometimes shock treatment is needed, but at this point in my own journey I’m finding that I often need to let my “real” vocation as His disciple come out gently at first then reveal more and more . . . I try to let Him speak to me as to how He wants the weak human to reflect His light. Wow, it can be hard to listen when the human gets distracted. Blessings to you!

  2. Pingback: Is there a place called “There”? | The Official BLOG site of Ressurrection Graves

  3. Pingback: Call to worship « master of life in earth, sky and sea

  4. Pingback: God looks inside of us « bummyla

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