23But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Reading Scripture to Know:
- What is happening/being said? (Observation)
- Why is this happening/being said? (Interpretation)
- What does the rest of Scripture say about it? (Evaluation)
- What does it mean? (Understanding)
- What does it mean for us? (Application)
Reading Scripture to Grow:
- What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
- Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
- How do you see the character of God reflected in this Scripture?
- How does this Scripture reveal God?
- How does this Scripture expose humanity and its need for God?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
- What might God want to communicate to you (us) this week through this Scripture?
Scripture Reads Me:
- This passage makes me feel…
- This passage makes me think about…
- This passage reminds me of…
- This passage teaches me that God is…
- This passages teaches me that I am…
- This passage challenges me to…
Looking at the picture above reminds me of my first encounters with the written Word of God. I was just a little boy and my parents had given me a denim covered (it was the 1980s!) illustrated Bible. There were beautiful, full color pictures on almost every page – Peter and the sheet of unclean animals, Elijah in a fiery chariot, the kindhearted, compassionate Jesus sitting with anyone who would receive him, and so many more. I fell in love with Scripture because of that bright, inviting Bible. I still have it some thirty years later and I still enjoy looking at its pictures.
I began reading it while sitting in church during the worship service. I have to admit, I wasn’t too interested in the sermons, so I would read it while the pastor preached (that’s the only good excuse not to listen to the sermon!). Then I began reading Scripture because I wanted to know more and more about God and God’s world. Eventually I learned to read Scripture for the sake of reading Scripture – for the love of God and a thirst for communion with God.
God wants to connect with us daily and reading Scripture is an important part of that connection. In Scripture we encounter the living Christ and we also invite the Holy Spirit, who is always present with us, to speak to us. What does God want to communicate to you through Scripture this week? The only way you will know is by taking your Bible off the shelf (hopefully you won’t have to dust it off too much!), opening it, and reading it. I promise you’ll find God waiting for you in its pages.
This week, explore what Jesus means in his statement to the Samaritan woman about true worship. What does it mean to worship God in Spirit? What does it mean to worship God in Truth? In your journal writings, complete this thought: If I were to worship God in spirit and truth, it would look like _____________.
This practice allows you to listen to the Scripture for the week (in larger context) and to open yourself up to God’s voice in that Scripture.
- Click on the audio link above and listen to the Scripture. As you listen this first time, ask God to point out to you a word or phrase from the Scripture.
- Click on the audio link above again and listen to the Scripture a second time. As you listen this second time, ask God to reveal to you the holy intentions for this word or phrase that is being spoken into your life.
- Click on the audio link above again and listen to the Scripture a third time. As you listen this third time, ask God how you might respond to this word or phrase being spoken into your life today.
Cloud of Witnesses:
John Wycliffe was a 14th-century Anglican priest who worked diligently to translate the Bible into the English language. All of us who read the Bible in English have Wycliffe to thank for the beginning of that translation movement. Clink the link to read about his life or explore the work of the present-day Bible translators who work in his name to bring the Bible to people groups in their native language.
Listen to the song, Thy Word. You can purchase the song here if you’d like. As you listen, join in the singing as God leads you or simply receive its message in silence. This song is also in the United Methodist Hymnal (#601) if you would like to look it up and sing it this week. What is God communicating to you through this song? What might you communicate to God through this song?
There are millions of Christians around the world who do not have freedom to worship God and who do so anyway. This week pray for those faithful men and women of God who worship God in spirit and truth despite threatened or real persecution for doing so. Ask God to give you such fearless faith. Follow the link to join United Methodists around the world in A Service of Prayer for Persecuted Christians.
What Bible verse or passage has most profoundly formed who you are as a man or woman of faith? In your mind’s eye place yourself in the room of the saint who first wrote those words. What are they experiencing as they write these faith-filled words? If the Bible passage that you are thinking of tells a story, imagine yourself within that story. Who are you in the story? Where do find yourself and what are you doing within that story? What encounter do you have with God within this imaginative meditation?
Take some time to reflect upon your day or your week. Follow the process below and open yourself up to the presence and work of God in your life this week. Every week the structure is the same, but some specifics are changed to reflect the Scripture of the week.
- Find a place and posture that will prepare you for prayer.
- Begin by breathing in deeply through your nose and breathing deeply out of your mouth.
- Invite God to lead you through the previous day or week. For instance, if it is Tuesday night, reflect back on Tuesday morning, afternoon, and evening. If it Saturday or Sunday, reflect back on Monday through Friday.
- Ask God to guide you through these questions:
- How has God’s Word been present with you?
- How has God’s Spirit been present with you?
- How is God at work in your community through the presence and work of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit?
- How have you worshiped God today or this week?
- Thank God for this journey of reflection on your day or week. Ask God to continue to reveal Godself to you tomorrow.
Take some time this week outside of the Sunday worship service to worship God in spirit and truth. Do this in whatever manner seems natural and meaningful to you. Perhaps this will involve singing praises to God, or serving someone in need, or sitting int he silent presence of the divine. The important thing is that your worship connects you to God and opens you up to deep communion with God. God can be worshiped in many powerful ways. Experience one of those ways today!
Breath Prayer: LORD God, be glorified in our lives.