The New Testament says a lot that makes me paranoid about my own worship habits. The Scriptures demand of me music from the heart, when I can’t even make music with my mouth. There are warnings of taking the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner, a topic I’ve heard a great many sermons try to explain. For my worship to count, I’ve been told that I must already be saved, I must have real desire, I must be edifying. And above all this, Jesus gives the mother of all worship-commandments in John 4: worship in spirit and in truth.
This is the one I spend most of my mental energies on. I try to stay focused for the full hour and a half. No zoning out. I must analyze each lyric. “…With grief and shame weighed down…” I can already feel myself fading. Quick—have Lauren pinch me before I hit my head on the pew. When I’ve thought about worshiping in spirit and truth, I’ve always sought this sort of worship.
But, as Leon taught, that sort of worship—being genuine and being focused—is only the beginning. It is the much-needed first step toward the event of true worship Jesus ushered in.
In John 4, Christ spoke of a worship unlike that of the Samaritans and the Jews, and until Sunday, it was hard for me to understand what that might look like. But I see now that a worship of spirit and of truth is one that is uninhibited by the law or priests—one that escapes the confines of ritual.
And this is exactly how Leon encouraged me. The goal of the faith has for the last two millennia been to let our worship move beyond a set time and singular rituals (while those are surely godly) and instead to emanate through our entire lives. If I am to worship in spirit and truth, I must carry my worship with me, holding it in my heart and mind. It will, naturally, make my life into a peculiar sort of life. It will affect my ethics, how I drive, how I speak, how I chat at work, how I send emails, how I eat dinner. It’s an all-pervasive worship, a worship of spirit and truth.