Lawrence on Worship in Spirit and Truth

Today's Worship Quote is another from Brother Lawrence, the 17th century Carmelite monk who "practiced the presence of God." Here, he is commenting on Jesus' words in John 4:24: "God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth" (NIV).

There are three things in this question to which it is necessary to reply.

First: To worship God in spirit and truth means to worship God as we ought to worship Him. God is Spirit, so we must worship Him in spirit and truth, that is, by a humble and true adoration of spirit in the depth and center of our souls. God alone can see this worship; we can repeat it so often that in the end it becomes as if it were natural to us, and as if God were one with our souls, and our souls one with Him.

Second: To worship God in truth is to recognize Him for being who He is, and to recognize ourselves for what we are. To worship God in truth is to recognize as a very present reality in our spirit that God is infinitely perfect, infinitely worthy of worship, and infinitely distant from evil, even beyond His divine attributes. Who will be the man who, lacking in wisdom though he may be, will refuse to employ all his strength to render his respect and worship to this great and infinitely worthy God.

Third: To worship God in truth is further to admit that we are entirely contrary to Him, and that He is willing to make us like Himself if we desire it. Who will be so imprudent as to turn himself away, even for a moment, from the reverence, love, service and continual adoration which we most justly owe Him?

-Brother Lawrence (c. 1611-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, translated by Robert J. Edmonson, Paraclete Living Library, 1984.

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