Tuesday, May 8, 2012
in Jerusalem, in Gerazim, in spirit, and in truth
The Word for today:
God told Israel to destroy "the high paces" (mountaintop shrines) of the pagan religion in the new land (Deuteronomy 12:2).
He then informed them that he would lead them to the "the place the LORD your God will choose to put his Name there for his dwelling." (Deuteronomy 12:5)
Eventually, the designated place was Jerusalem. But even before that, Israel was to worship in one place only.
The Israelites first set up the Tabernacle at Shiloh. Later, when David captured Jerusalem, he made that city his capital and brought the Ark of the Covenant there in preparation for the construction of a temple for God.
The single temple in Jerusalem unified their worship until the Samaritans challenged the idea of a "proper" place to honor God and, in 400 B.C., built a rival temple on Mount Gerizim (the "mount of blessing" in today's reading.)
This point of contention became a subject for discussion when Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:19-24). Jesus' response to her denominationalism was that God seeks those who worship him "in spirit and in truth."
Many of us still think of worship in the way the woman at the well thought about it. Some of us are still tied to a place of worship, even when that place starts to depart from the Person of Jesus Christ.
Believers no longer meet in one place but around one Person. We can worship in Shiloh, in Jerusalem, in Gerizim, in Luckenbach, Texas, or in Outwater Park, as long as we worship in spirit and in truth.