True Worship

         Jesus’ memorable statement to the Samaritan woman at the well of Sychar contains valuable information as regards true worship. For this woman, who in common with all Samaritans worshiped on Mount Gerizim, he defined true worship. He denied the authenticity of the Samaritans’ form of religious observance, declaring that they knew not what they worshiped. “We know what we worship,” he asserted, adding, “Salvation is of the Jews,” and, “The true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth.”

         In these terse sentences, Christ Jesus set for all time the true standard of worship. “In spirit and in truth” must true devotees look to God, if they are to partake of the heavenly blessings the bountiful Father has provided for all. To gain the full significance of Jesus’ words, it must be recalled that while the Samaritans had taken over the letter of the Jewish religion, had adopted its outward rites and ceremonies, they had not attained its deeper meanings. Their concept of God was far different from that which Christ Jesus held. They adhered to the Jehovistic idea of God as endowed with magnified human traits, attributes, and characteristics. Since Jesus knew their concept of God to be false, he could declare that the worshipers in Gerizim knew not what they worshiped; that is, had no adequate concept of Deity. But with the understanding of God as Spirit, a concept of Deity which Jesus was the first to gain and reveal, came the possibility of true worship, based upon knowledge of God’s real nature.

         Christian Science enables its students adequately to worship God, for it reveals the divine nature and attributes more fully than they have ever before been revealed. Christian Scientists, therefore, worship with more understanding and with more effectiveness, because they worship more spiritually. Mrs. Eddy’s statement as to the character of true worship is definite. On page 140 of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” she writes: “Worshipping through the medium of matter is paganism. Judaic and other rituals are but types and shadows of true worship.” The God whom Christian Scientists worship is Spirit, Love, which is unchanging, eternal, divine. This true concept of God attained, the question arises, How may we best worship Him? By keeping His commandments; by conforming our thoughts to the divine; by holding constantly to the facts of being, of God as universal Love, of man as His perfect likeness, of the universe as the emanation of God, containing nothing material — a universe of spiritual ideas. As we hold firmly to this understanding, we become true worshipers, who worship the Father “in spirit and in truth.”

         How devoid of ceremony is such worship! No ritual, no formalism, no rites, no ceremonies! All of true worship is observed in right thinking, not in a given place or at a given time, but constantly. In our daily affairs we worship by holding thought true to the model seen in the mount, to the Christ-idea, the truth about God and man. No more is the rite of true worship confined to a given group of people. Mrs. Eddy significantly asks on pages 12 and 13 of Science and Health, “Does Deity interpose in behalf of one worshipper, and not help another who offers the same measure of prayer?” And she answers her query in part thus: “In divine Science, where prayers are mental, all may avail themselves of God as ‘a very present help in trouble.’ Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals.” All who seek spiritually for the kingdom of God, all who try to find that kingdom in consciousness, are true worshipers, and may gain the reward of the righteous.

         We are true worshipers in proportion as we turn away from the arguments of material belief and find man’s perfection in God’s allness as Spirit. God is truly worshiped only subjectively, that is, as He is sought in consciousness. Such worship brings a clear sense of man’s oneness with God, for it recognizes the indissoluble unity which exists between divine Principle, God, and His perfect idea, man. It fulfills both the letter and the spirit of the Master’s injunction. True worship is never objective. God is not something apart from man, but the source of all existence, the intelligence and Life which man reflects.

         True worship leads thought straight to the understanding of God. Because it denies matter the slightest semblance of reality, it lifts vision to the cognition of God and His infinite allness as the only presence, substance, and creator, thus precluding the possibility of another reality, named matter. Response to such worship will be in proportion to the fidelity and understanding of the worshiper. In recognition of this great fact, Mrs. Eddy established the services and all worship in her church in the simplest possible manner. She set the feet of Christian Scientists in the path of true worship, in following which all may enter the kingdom of righteousness.


"True Worship" by Albert F. Gilmore, CSB
Christian Science Sentinel, January 19, 1927

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