Worshiping God In A Post Covid World

In spite of all appearances to the contrary, God has a plan for this bankrupt world . . . this earth of ours, he still wants as a theatre for his grace and glorious direction.
Helmut Thielicke (1908–1986)

We are going through a 3rd wave in Covid 19 cases and may soon see evidence of the Thanksgiving travel surging on top of it. Even if you believe more testing is the only reason behind there being more cases you can’t deny the fact there are certainly more covid hospitalizations. For weeks, our state of Louisiana lagged behind, showed no evidence of the 3rd wave the rest of the country was experiencing but in about a month our covid hospital patients have doubled.

There has been much debate on how to worship God in the “Post Covid” environment. One Louisiana pastor who blatantly refused to follow the “suggestions” of our governor John Bel Edwards was assigned some formal consequences by state authorities. Governor Edwards has taken a very compromising approach to covid regulations and has said multiple times that it would be a sad thing for our state if his and the CDC “suggestions” would have to be legally enforced. He said only under the most blatant disregard of CDC suggestions would authorities take action. This pastor arrogantly brought the states actions against him to the US Supreme Court but was refused a hearing in the same week they ruled to protect religious worship across the nation.

Supreme Court declines case of Louisiana pastor Tony Spell, who defied coronavirus orders. Nov. 28,2020
https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/courts/article_f340b63c-31b5-11eb-aac4-c70ee54f7e62.html

“Thumbs Up” For My Governor

Supreme Court blocks strict COVID-19 restrictions on New York houses of worship. Nov. 26, 2020
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/11/26/religious-freedom-supreme-court-blocks-covid-limits-n-y-churches/3767379001/

In today’s Tecarta Bible study Jesus spoke directly to the topic of how and where we should worship God,

John 4:23 KJV
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
https://tbibl.es/a3d0

In this chapter we have a phrase spared only for special occasions concerning Jesus, ” he must needs go through Samaria.”

Luke 2:29 … I must be about my Father’s business?
Luke 4:43 … I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.
Luke 13:33 … I must walk to day, and tomorrow, and the day following:
Luke 19:5 “to Zacchaeus” … I must abide at thy house.
John 4:4 And he must needs go through Samaria.
John 9:4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
John 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

It’s said that normally Jews would rather take the longer 6 day journey along the Jordan river when traveling between Galilee and Jerusalem than going through Samaria. Samaria was a land filled with gentiles and mongrel, mixed breed Israelites. Full, pure blooded Jews didn’t hesitate to call these Israelites dogs as Jesus once told a woman, ” it isn’t right to take the children’s bread and give it to dogs.”

A most important point of their animosity towards each other began long before the 10 northern Israelite tribes had intermarried with the gentile nations. It began at the time they seperated from the southern kingdom of Judah. It was at that time they chose to stop worshiping God in Jerusalem and instead made the 2 golden calves to worship. Samaritans chose to not follow the Word of God given by the prophets. Actually, the only scriptures Samaritans followed was the Pentateuch, the 5 Books of Moses. They believed that since Jerusalem was never mentioned in them as a place of worshiping God they were in the right.

I think this was one of the main reasons Jesus “must needs” go through Samaria on that day. Jesus didn’t only rebuke and instruct the Samaritans on that day, He also prophesied against the Jews in Jerusalem on that day.

John 4:19-24 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”

21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

The city of Sychar where Jacobs well was located was also between Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal spoken of in Deuteronomy 27, link. Samaritans chose to worship God at Mount Gerizim.

Jesus knew that the destruction of the temple and the entire city of Jerusalem was soon approaching when He said, “you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.” Time is not an obstacle in the mind of God. Jesus knew that throughout human history there would be times when corporate worship of God would be hindered for many reasons. Some were caused by man as in wars and because of exploration and conquering new lands with the gospel. Others were because of God’s judgment as in the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem 2,000 years ago.

The thing that matters most is whether or not we are worshiping God in the way Jesus said we must, 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

I think there is a lesson to be learned from the Samaritans. Don’t discount any of the Word of God. There are some who say the Old Testament is not relevant for today. It’s easy to paint a lopsided view of Father God’s character by disregarding the “whole counsel” of the Holy Spirit inspired Word of God. The Apostle Paul wrote by inspiration of that same Holy Spirit,

Romans 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

You may find the following articles interesting reading,

Louisiana, The State I’m In https://intheword.blog/2020/07/21/louisiana-my-state-home/

Bible Commentary on John 4:21 https://biblehub.com/commentaries/john/4-21.htm

A Brief History of the Samaritans https://margmowczko.com/a-brief-history-of-the-samaritans/

How Did the Samaritan Woman Know About the Messiah? https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1160-how-did-the-samaritan-woman-know-about-the-messiah

The Samaritan Pentateuch https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samaritan_Pentateuch

Jerusalem’s Ties To Melchizedek https://www.britannica.com/biography/Melchizedek

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