“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.” (Matthew 15:8-9)
They are called “Worship Wars.” It is a question that has been with humankind from the beginning, “How do we worship our god/God?” Will a wooden statue do? How about animal or even human sacrifices? Surely these will get gods attention. Sadly, that still seems to be the motivation today in our worship wars. There are some who argue that the words must be theologically correct even if there is no heart in them when sung. There are others that argue that it is the heart or spirit that counts and the words don’t matter. Is it possible to sing praise of God from the heart even with words that might not be theologically correct? It appears that God thinks so. He is not impressed with our theology. He wants relationship. He wants to be in tune with our spirit.
Humankind likes to control things, even the things of God. It is much easier to develop rules, liturgies and forms of worship that we feel will impress God, than actually develop a relationship with Him. However we worship, we must know that God looks at our heart. If we are simply reciting some ritual or singing a hymn and our heart is not in it, it is vain. Let us always be sincere in our worship. It is our best time to show our God our love.
Heavenly Father, help us to worship You in spirit and truth. Fill us with Your Spirit to enable us to praise Your Holy Name. Draw us into Your presence as we worship. And make Your presence known within us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Robert Forsberg is retired from Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Fairborn.