This past Sunday, we examined the story of Jesus and the Samaritan Woman. We discussed Jesus offering us the spring of living water, and this coming Sunday, we are focusing on the nature of worship in the same passage. The Samaritan woman commented to Jesus that her people worshiped on Mt Gerizim, not Jerusalem. Samaritans also did not consider the Psalms, prophets, and other writings as part of God's word. These two groups of people were at odds. Jesus settles this divide by telling the Samaritan Woman, “The hour is coming, and is now here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24).
What does it mean to ‘worship in spirit and truth?’ This verse is what will be the focus of this Sunday's service - the nature of worship. You will notice the concern is not necessarily about style but more so content, to worship what is true about God. I remember attending a mega church in Chicago that opened with a Beatles song. They attempted to be relevant to outsiders, but most, if not all, secular music is not meant for Sunday morning worship. God needs to be at the center of our lives, the center of the church, and our singing.
Our time together on Sunday at APC is not about the style of worship for us but about growing in love with Jesus and worshiping his power, authority, mercy, and love through many styles of music.
This song below, "Talkin to Jesus," by the popular worship band Maverick City Music may not be the best lyrically but makes one interesting point in regard to style differences.
"Mama used to drag me to church
Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights
Khaki pants and a polo shirt
Boy, I put up a fight
She said, 'Son, one day you'll thank me
For having God in your life.'
And yeah, I know she was right
Yeah, my Mama was right."
Despite differences in tradition, there was something authentic happening that he realized was there in his mama's church. Other lyrics in the song comment on how he saw his grandma praying. He initially thought it was strange but later came to acknowledge she was really talking to Jesus. Authentic worship makes an impression on the young and old, the irreligious and religious. Will people detect, regardless of the style of worship, that we are worshiping a real God who loves us and draws close to us?
Here is our vision for worship at APC:
We desire to worship the Lord together in Spirit and Truth. We want to grow in love with Jesus as we praise him as our merciful, mighty redeemer and friend. We do this through various worship styles that enable everyone in our church to worship. This variety includes songs of praise, hymns, and choral anthems, all accompanied at times by guitar and drums to the piano and organ. Our ultimate desire is to grow in our wholehearted worship of God.