My Thoughts. . .
John 4:23-24 is the passage quoted by most to answer the question concerning “worship.” It is true that Jesus is explaining the topic to a Samaritan women, but scripture NEVER reduces “worship” to five acts done primarily upon Sunday morning at a specific location and time. That woman knew where the location of worship was for a Jew. Jesus’ female audience knew that worship for her people was on Samaria’s mountain (John 4:20-21). The worship being introduced by Jesus is identified as “NOW.” The “now” applied to that event when Jesus was talking to the Samaritan woman! Neither one was involved in the five acts which we perform on Sunday morning.
Although the Old Testament has numerous passages giving details of how, who, what, and where sacrifices were to be made, the New Testament does not fall into that mode. Claims are made that the New Testament describes five specific acts as worship. The claim is that all five were performed in an assembly on the first day of every week. Proof for that claim in missing from scripture itself. One such act, much less all five, is never referred to as “worship.” They are included as New Testament worship by those who did not write the New Testament.
Articles written on the subject have the tendency to limit us to those five acts in the one-hour Sunday morning assembly. Should we give reverence to God? Certainly. Should this be done in that one-hour assembly on Sunday morning? Yes! However, is our reverence to God limited to that one-hour span? When attendees exit church property, should that reverence not continue or do we drop it off at the church door and redress ourselves in it the following Sunday? Some believe a certain attitude should be embodied when we worship. This attitude shows honor to God. Does that mean we did not have that honoring attitude prior to entering the church’s portals? Doesn’t God dwell in us 24/7? If so, should we not have that honor or respect for Him 24/7 rather than limit it to one hour in a specific location once each week?
Although believers are honest and sincere in such claims, proof is needed to show that limiting those attitudes is biblical. I have heard brethren say that we should wear our Sunday best to show respect for God. Why do we not make that same claim 24/7 and dress just as nice on Monday as we did on Sunday? If we take that “respectful Sunday best” off when we arrive at the house, would that not indicate we are removing our respect for God? Sayings that appear to sound noble soon expose our inconsistencies.
Sometimes Old Testament passages are quoted to bolster New Testament teachings. Unintentionally we may be guilty of destroying our own foundations. Quoting Psalm 95:6 may seem supportive if we actually do what the passage upholds. The Psalmist states if you worship, you are to “bow down.” If you worship, “Kneel down.” That practice dwindled and disappeared around the 1940’s. Like the “holy kiss” being replaced, substitutions were made and justified. Consistency would demand that if you may scripturally substitute for one biblical topic, you may do so for another. Look at the substitutions made by different churches on the mode of baptism. If one church has the authority to make substitutions, another church is granted that same privilege.
Paul wrote the Roman assembly and told them to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1). If one wants to worship God in spirit and in truth, do it 24/7. If we want to give God respect and honor, do it on our way to the church building, while in the auditorium, and on our way home. Give it the rest of that day as well as Monday through Saturday! It is a 24/7 kind of worship which includes the limited actions of singing, praying, communion, giving, and studying God’s word. If it is not the kind of worship that is the 24/7 kind, one’s worship may be limited so much that God is bypassed!