Summary: Believers are called by God to engage in the reconciliatory of the works of the Lord and not promote our style of worship and every other thing that turns from the truth.
Once I heard words from a wise pastor that still evoke awe in my heart even as the time eclipses like a winding clock. In fact, all believers can attest to the instance of the truth of the scripture coming alive unexpectedly like a stream bursting forth. It simply means there is a possibility of reading the same scripture several times over the years until suddenly the light burst forth with an understanding of the depth of the word. That is coming like lightning that further enlightening the import of the word of God.
So the story is the same everywhere among believers who have had the same experiences. What better time than today as people are finally coming to terms with the brevity of life and long-held beliefs that have constrained many on their journey through life. The present atmosphere brought by the Coronavirus has worsened the spiritual situation among all people and tribes.
The crisis has caused some of those people who had no interest in religion to rethink on a serious note the issues of life. Right now, there is a tectonic shift in the thought patterns of humanity worldwide towards the ideals of creationism. The world of faith is finally coming back to the basics considering the things that truly matter in life while stationed in the garage in need of urgent repair by Master Workman, our Lord Jesus.
The reality is finally dawning on all of the unpredictability of the future. Hence, today, I heard a word from a sermon preached on the Samaritan woman that changed my outlook on matters relating to the faith. The impact of the message changed all that transporting me on a different level. What struck me was the simplicity of the message and the thorough exegesis of the speaker as he focused with laser on the damage done by the blind dogmatism of the woman. This is the same blindness promoted by different denominations around the world when a church is unhinged from the Lord.
These are doctrines often clothed in the human practices that often scare unbelievers in the moment of responding to the message of salvation. Sometimes they are the hurdles that scare many from attending church services. These are the attitudes that frequently turned away seekers from believing in the gospel of the Lord when they sense hints of rigidity and denominational intolerance.
This is what can happen when believers tend to focus on the periphery instead of Christ, and Him crucified. Just as the Samaritan woman was fixed on what the fathers of her faith have handed down and the religious doctrine of her denomination.
According to the story, when the woman encountered the Lord Jesus at the well at a very odd time, to begin with. He asked her for water to quench his thirst. The woman retorted back "Why should I give you water " basing her argument on the grounds of her religious separation and denomination as practiced today by many denominations. She said in the words I have paraphrased.
· How can I offer you water when you identify with a different denomination from my own?
· Why should I help you when we have no relationship with one another?
· How can I help you when we do not believe in the same way and things I hold as sacred?
· Why should I help you when you worship over there and we worship in those buildings out there?
· Why should I help you when we have nothing in common, and nothing to do with one another?
· Why should I help you when you worship on Saturday different from us who worship on Sunday?
· Why should I help you when you say things contrary to what I believe?
· How can I help you when you do not use certain elements in your worship?
· How can I help you when you have images and paintings in your church?
These are some of the inferential deduction that can be gleaned from her responses. In that, the woman focused on the place of worship and the teachings of her denomination also known as the Samaritans. The Samaritans are Jews and those of mixed marriage, including the Assyrians, dwelling in the Land. More specifically, they comprised of those that were carried away from the Northern Kingdom and those the Assyrians had settled in the Land of Israel who later evolved a form of worship that boycotted Jerusalem.
But our Lord focused on the “WAY” and person or object of worship. Most believers tend to focus the gospel on the “PLACE” and the denomination, instead of the Person of the gospel of God. At least, the pandemic has revealed to us that it is not the place that matters, but the way and the person to whom worship is addressed that really matters in life.