The Worship Quote of the Week for (09/21/1999):

Reality versus Ritual
Today's WORSHIP QUOTE comes from the pen of British songwriter and worship
leader Graham Kendrick. He refers to Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan
woman (John 4).

In his conversation with the Samaritan woman, Jesus was announcing the
arrival of a new age in which worship would no longer be seen to depend on
buildings, holy places, ceremonies, rituals and sacrifices, but on a personal
relationship with God. All those things had been symbols of what was to come,
and now Jesus himself was announcing the reality of the fulfillment of all
that Judaistic worship had foreshadowed. The holy of holies was no longer
shut off from the common man or woman, but open to all who come by way of
Jesus. Yet more astounding, he was introducing God as a personal, loving
Father, and one who actively seeks worshippers.

In order to worship, this relationship with God our Father must be a reality
in our lives, so that our worship is not dependant on the things that can be
seen-the buildings, ceremonies, rituals and trappings of religion that can so
easily become a substitute for a personal knowledge of God. Worship that
depends on the externals for its existence is not real worship at all; true
worship is what you have left when the externals are taken away. This does
not mean that certain aids to worship are not valid and useful, but they are
useless without the internal reality.

Worship in truth is worship that arises out of an actual encounter with God,
a response to the experience of knowing God's real presence and activity in
our daily lives. This has nothing to do with sentiment, thinking religious
thoughts or having aesthetic experiences in church buildings; any religion
can give you that sort of thing.

- Graham Kendrick, from WORSHIP, Kingsway Publications, 1984, p.94.

[God, our loving heavenly Father, help us to be real with you. Help us to
worship you in spirit and in truth. Amen!]

Have a great week,

Chip Stam
Pastor of Worship and Music
Chapel Hill Bible Church
Chapel Hill, North Carolina