Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Faith Expression of the Marginalized
John 4:19-26
 Vs.23, 24 "Yet 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.”
In this passage, Jesus goes through Samaria on his way to Galilee. In Samaria, he sits at a well and encounters a Samaritan woman. Through their conversation, the Samaritan woman realizes that Jesus is not just any ordinary Jew. She begins to realize that He is the Messiah. From a short conversation with Jesus, this Samaritan woman begins her journey of faith. Jesus intentionally uses the faith of this woman to teach us a lesson on true worship. Jesus knew of her troubled past and her indiscretions but He saw that she had a heart that was seeking truth and was open to let Jesus transcend her previous misconceptions.
  Jesus gives an insight into what true worship really is through His conversation with the Samaritan woman. At that time, the Jews believed that the only acceptable place to worship was in Jerusalem while the Samaritans believed it to be on the mountain. However Jesus says, “a time is coming when you will neither worship the Father on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.” Jesus’ ministry of true worship transcends the traditional concepts of worship set by Old Testament laws. No longer is worship confined to a particular place or a group of people. Now any one of God’s children is able to approach God at any time or place as long as we approach Him with humility. Jesus emphasizes that true worship must be done in spirit and truth. Worship that is “in spirit” is worship that engages in full submission and surrender of ourselves to God. We are often concerned with how the worship will benefit us or what we will get from the worship without regard to the one we are worshipping. There is no worship in truth unless we come to worship with a heart and mind that knows the God that we are worshipping.
  Why is Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman important to us? The whole encounter including the conversation and its effect afterwards can be seen as a form of true worship. Jesus could have had this conversation regarding true worship with anyone, but He chooses a social outcast such as the Samaritan woman.  An essential part of worship is living our lives in a way that reflects God’s love and grace. Instead of seeing the Samaritan woman as someone with a dark past and questionable morality, Jesus saw a broken spirit who was in need of God’s mercy. In this situation, Jesus’ true act of worship was His personification of God’s unconditional love. By caring for one marginalized Samaritan woman, He was able to reach the whole village through her testimony. If we embrace people at their time of brokenness, we are exemplifying a God that welcomes the sinful and the lost with open arms. One of the truest forms of worship is living our lives in a way that embodies our God’s love, mercy and grace.
Father, grant us the wisdom to understand what it means to worship in spirit and truth. Help us to live our lives in a way that glorifies and worships You. Amen.
"The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service. The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless.” –Billy Graham
 Sheena Thomas, Long Island MTC, NY
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church