Monday, August 26, 2013

Worship: A Heart Issue

Sunday, August 25 
9:50 a.m. 

I pause and listen. Around me hundreds of worshipers lift up their voices in praise to God. The vast difference between what I see now and where I worshiped exactly a week ago in my hometown, suddenly hits me. There is little comparison between the reformed church we attend in Chilliwack and the non-denominational, international church we attend here. 

"How do you transition back and forth between churches?" I've been asked more than once by people who've visited on teams, and I'm never really sure how to reply. 

When praise and worship time is over and it's time for the meet and greet of visitors, I sink back down in my seat and open my Bible. During our women's Bible study I remember reading something in Stephen's sermon in Acts about God not being bound to one temple or one place so I search for that now. Sure enough, I find the passage in Acts 7:48-50: Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things? 

Feeling somewhat comforted by these words I greet a few people around me and then return to my seat for the sermon to begin. 

After a time of prayer we are told to turn to John 4, and as we read it together I find these words: But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers 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. John 4:23-24 

As I ponder these words I am reminded of the words I had previously memorized in Samuel: For the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. 1 Sam 16:7b and the words Jesus spoke in Matthew 15:8-9: This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 

Suddenly it becomes clear to me. Although outwardly my two places of worship may be very different, God is more concerned about my heart. Is my heart worshiping Him in spirit and in truth?

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