Sunday, June 19, 2011

"Christian Worship"?

I used the phrase "Christian worship" in my title the last two days, re. my experiencing of worshiping God in the context of attending Friday (Muslim) prayers, and an Orthodox Jewish Shabbat service.

Let me return for a moment to that title. More accurately, I would have titled the postings, "A Christian Worshiping..." (at or in the context of, these other settings, or among these other worshipers in their faith context). "Christian worship" might imply that there is something organized, objective, a structure and approach, a liturgy, etc., that I mean. And how could you do that at a masjad or synagogue?

To me as a Christian, though, worship is not about - and doesn't require - liturgy and a specific place, qualified religious leaders, etc. Worship is about connecting with God in one's heart and mind and spirit. It's about being stirred to love him and respond to him, to see and respond to his glory and majesty, to offer one's heart and life to him in service (in Arabic, service and worship are one and the same word).

Jesus said, "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. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth." (John 4:23-24)

Note that he said this to a Samaritan woman. As a Rabbi, it was questionable that he took his disciples through Samaria rather than the long way around, and downright scandalous that he spoke to a woman. And given that the Samaritans had what to the Jews was a false religion, it is powerful that he did not argue religion, or compare them, etc., but simply took the discussion to a new level.

I just wanted to clarify that, for someone who might think it odd to talk of "Christian worship" in a masjad or synagogue.

"God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth."

I am thankful that this weekend, I had opportunity not only to worship God in a church setting, but also in a masjad and a synagogue. It made for a rich weekend.

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