Pilgrimages to Worship


     Ritual that is meaningless to the worshiper is also meaningless to God.  Genuine, acceptable worship must be in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).  It does not automatically happen simply because your body is in a certain locale at an appointed time.

     In the Old Testament, God authorized an exact location for His worship—first, it was the tabernacle, then it became the temple in Jerusalem.  For many, traveling to the specified location meant making a journey of some distance, a pilgrimage.  To some, this journey was an occasion for gladness—”I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord.’” (Psalm 122:1).

     In the New Testament, the worship of God continues in a specified place—His spiritual temple, the church that Christ built (Ephesians 2:19-22).  However, the geographic location of this temple and its worship is immaterial (John 4:20-21).

     Like the Old Testament temple, the worship of the church ought to be permeated with joyful thanksgiving “to the name of the Lord” (Psalm 122:4).  Prayers for peace among the people of God (Psalm 122:6-8) and for civil authorities (1 Timothy 2:1-2) are also befitting of our worship.

     All of this anticipates our final pilgrimage: When we journey to the heavenly city—the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2)—and join all the redeemed in eternal, unbreakable, joyous fellowship with God.

     About that final pilgrimage, can you truthfully say you are looking forward to the angels coming to tell you, “Let us go into the house of the Lord”?

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Author: jchowning

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