This photo was taken in old town Mazatlan, Mexico
One of my favorite things to do when in other countries is to visit their churches. They come in many sizes and shapes. Some are rather simple and non assuming, while others are quite beautiful and extravagant. As a child I was always drawn to a church with a choir and pipe organ. There seems to be something almost super spiritual when being in the presence of so many voices in harmony along with the power of a huge pipe organ that helps you forget the cares of this world.
But I have also been moved to tears by a small group singing a hymn or praise song when the words reached deep into my heart and touched me personally.
In the passage from John 4 Jesus meets the Samaritan woman at the well and after a few interchanges she says, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus declared, “Believe me woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4: 19-24)
Immediately after Jesus gave up his spirit “the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” allowing us direct access to the throne of God. (see Matthew 27: 51)
The writer of Hebrews encourages us to “then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Thus we can worship God in spirit and truth in any “sanctuary”. I have many favorite “places” : Cornerstone Christian Church, our ‘home’ church, the living room in our home, the beautiful beach in Bandon, etc. But sometimes I am caught by surprise and I hear a song on the radio while driving and my car becomes my “sanctuary.”
This will be my last “Francis blog” from home. I will be leaving for Italy Easter morning. Lord willing, I will send a few blogs from Assisi after worshiping in the same “sanctuaries” where God spoke to Francis’s heart and changed the direction of his life.
So, my Jesus, let the pilgrimage begin. I am the clay. You are the potter. All praise and glory belong to You.