worship does not require knowledge

17 03 2010

I’ve been reading through John and came upon chapter 4 and noticed something about worship. You don’t need to know God to worship Him.

Verses 23 and 24 tend to get all the attention because they tell us that true worshipers worship in spirit and in truth. Verse 22, though, seems to be skipped over.

John 4:22, “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.” I think the main point was that the Jews worshiped a God that they knew, but I want to draw out another point: we don’t have to know what we worship in order to worship.

To be a true worshiper we must worship in spirit and in truth, but worship doesn’t carry those requirements. A good parallel can be illustrated through fandom.

My friend Scott Appleman had a conversation with a so-called fan and this is what he shared on facebook (BTW I didn’t get his permission, but I figured he wouldn’t mind):

This is why I hate the Yankees:
Me (to guy wearing Yankee hat): “Can you name three Yankees?”
Guy wearing Yankee hat: Baseball players?
Me: (stunned silence) Yes, baseball players.
Guy Wearing Yankee Hat: Recent ones?
Me: Yankees. Guy Wearing Yankee Hat: Jeter, Babe Ruth, and that guy who’s sleeping with Madonna.
Me: A-Rod.
Guy Wearing Yankee Hat: Yeah, I have his bobblehead when he played with the Mets.
Me: He didn’t play for the Mets. He played for the Rangers.
Guy Wearing Yankee Hat: Yeah, the Rangers. That’s probably worth something, huh.

There is a spectrum of devotion when it comes to fans. Some are hardcore. They know almost everything. They have enough knowledge to make a good Wikipedia entry. They know the history and the current happenings.

Some are born into fandom. Someone in their family is a fan of a team, so they are fans. They don’t know a lot, but they are loyal.

There are casual fans, they joined because they had to be a fan of something and they followed along.

Some are bandwagon fans who join when someone is winning.

Some are posers. They wear the stuff, but that’s about it. They don’t know anything.

Now, I wouldn’t call the Samaritans posers, but Jesus told the woman that she didn’t know God. She was more of the family fan, born into fandom. She didn’t know God.

Jesus, though, wanted her to be a hard core fan. She needed to know God and not just enough for a Wikipedia entry, she needed to experience God.

We can worship God, and not know Him, just as we can be a fan of a sports team and not know a thing about them. But when confronted by someone who knows the subject, we get exposed as posers.

There is an observation I made when processing Scott’s story. People don’t really like posers. We can be posers when we worship God. We can go through all the motions, where the clothes, talk the talk, but when it comes down to it, we really don’t know much.

Something else seems to happen when we are posers. Scott didn’t say that he hated Yankee fans; he hated the Yankees.

Is it possible that people hate God because of posers.

When we claim to follow something yet know nothing about it, we show that either we are not really followers, thus liars, or that whatever we are claiming to follow is not worthy of our pursuit.

When we fake full allegiance to God  it turns out bad. Either God has not transform us (which is supposed to be one of the reasons to follow Him), or He is not amazing enough to be pursued.

So, being a true worshiper not only is good for us, but good for God’s glory.

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