How do we worship?

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is sprit, and His worshippers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

(John 4:23-24)

The conversation Jesus had with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well about her life and worship has become a classic lesson on how we Christians are to worship the Lord. Let us reflect on its message again.

First, worshipping the Lord is not restricted to a time or place. The day for worship is not specified here but Jews and Samaritans went to the synagogues or temple on the Sabbath day, the last day of the week.

For Christians, Sunday has a special commemorative significance as Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the first day of the week (Sunday). Hence, most of Christ’s believers generally gather to worship on Sunday, although some services are conducted on Saturdays or weekdays for those who are unable to make it on Sundays.

Second, we worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. When we worship, our entire self – mind, feelings, and spirit – is engaged. Those with a cognitive bent may be more mindful of the process of worship, while others relish stirring worship forms that arouse their emotions, and then there are those who prefer quiet and meditative worship.

Christ teaches that we are to worship in spirit and in truth. Is our worship process balanced and proper? In the Old Testament the theme of the Israelites’ worship on the Sabbath day was to remember God’s creation (Exodus 20:8-11) and how He delivered them (Deut. 5:12-15). Bishops of the early Christian church also demonstrated the commemoration of God’s creation and His salvation on Sunday worship (Justin Martyr’s Apology, treatise 65).

Third, worshipping God means having an encounter with Him. The Samaritan woman had thought that by coming to the well at noon she could avoid meeting others. Never did she expect that Jesus was already waiting for her. In this divine appointment, Jesus helped her know that she had met the Messiah, and life would be meaningful if she accepted Jesus as Lord of her life.

Each Sunday when we go to church to worship our Lord, He is already waiting there for us. Jesus Christ has always been Lord in our worship. He is not merely an honoured guest for us to welcome, neither is He seated high above on a lofty altar waiting for our veneration.

Jesus Christ is right among us and we encounter Him through His Holy Scriptures and Holy Communion. In the course of our worship we sing hymns of praise, have prominent readings of Scripture, listen to sermons, make our thanksgiving offerings, partake in the Holy Communion and are then sent out.

Like the Samaritan woman, after our encounter with Jesus Christ, our sins are forgiven and lives are transformed, and we are sent off into the world as witnesses for our good and perfect Lord.

Let us continue to grow in the spiritual discipline of worship, because in God’s eternity, worship never ends.

Picture by Kuzma/

The Rev Dr Chong Chin Chung was re-elected President of the Chinese Annual Conference (CAC) in 2012 for the quadrennium. He has been a Methodist pastor for 29 years and is an adjunct lecturer at Trinity  Theological College since 1996.