This dictionary definition is important to my point. Please read it:
Worship (verb, used with object): To render religious reverence and homage to. To feel an adoring reverence, honor, devotion toward God.
As I sat this morning in my study, listening to a hymn, a sense of awe and wonder and praise and adoration and love for God suddenly swept over me. I lifted my hands in worship and just sat there, hands raised, adoring my God and Savior.
Some have told me that what I am doing when I do such things in my study is not true ‘worship.’ They say we can only worship God in a specific place – in a church – and at a specific time – during Mass.
I have often thought of that criticism since it was first leveled at me several weeks ago. And I think again and again to myself oh, how sad that idea is, to believe true worship, true adoration, true reverence, true devotion can only occur in a specific place and at a specific time.
And I remind myself of Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman. If you haven’t read it in a while, I urge you to do so. You’ll find it in John 4. But here is the gist of it:
The Samaritan woman said to Jesus “20 Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” 21 Jesus *said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father . . . 23 But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Spirit and truth. Not in a building. Not on a mountain. Not at a specific time, but wherever you are, whenever you are. Jesus tells us we can take time to adore, reverence, love, honor, praise, exalt, and exult in the Lord our God, creator of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen, and in Jesus His only begotten Son, who loves us so much that He sacrificed His life to pay for our sins.
Please. Please. If you think you must worship God only at a specific place and at a specific time, please hear the words of Jesus to the Samaritan woman.
Worship your king anywhere you are – in your house sitting in your chair, or parked in your car, or alone on the beach – when you sense the Holy Spirit drawing you to enter with awe into His presence, tear asunder the veil that constrains your spontaneous entry into the very throne room of God, and worship your king, all glorious above, and gratefully sing His power and His love. He is our shield and defender, the Ancient of days, pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.