When speaking to the woman at the well, Jesus declared that “a time is coming – and now is here – when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such people to be his worshipers.” (John 4:23) We know from Jesus and the prophets that “true worshippers” engage in acts of justice, care for orphans and widows, and love their neighbors. The quality of our worship is less about singing a song well and more about our songs and praise having a backbone of justice. This has been transformative for me as a worship leader the last 20 years. I have gone from leading songs to leading engagement in God’s Kingdom justice, and have discovered that they are intimately intertwined. This marriage of heart-felt, artistic praise and the anchor of justice is the union of spirit and truth. That is what God wants.
Jesus exemplifies this for us in unexpected ways. Instead of overthrowing Rome, he defeats death. Instead of liberating the oppressed from jail, he liberates and empowers their heart and soul. Instead of establishing a new and better patriarchal leadership, he raises the cultural value of women and children and the poor. Instead of dying a martyr to be remembered, he comes back to life and remains with us through his Spirit. He lives and reigns and invites us to continue to usher in his “upside down” Kingdom. Our lives of worship are to embody the same values and campaigns. Instead of fighting, we fall to our knees in prayer. Instead of building a generous retirement, we generously care for the poor. Instead of succumbing to greed and selfishness, we submit our lives to Jesus.
You are leading this charge in spirit and truth, and I am grateful and inspired. Your support of churches, children and families in India and Nepal is true worship. Your devotion to their empowerment and care ushers in the Kingdom of Heaven and shows the love of Jesus. Thank you for your commitment and support.
Lord, where there is injustice, unite us as your children to speak out and act as necessary. May all of our acts of justice be steeped in love for others and for you. May your Kingdom come in and through us. Amen.