“For God is a Spirit, and he longs to have sincere worshippers who worship and adore him in the realm of the Spirit and in truth.”
The word authentic became popular years ago as the revival of the same word started bubbling up within individuals and communities. But since, ‘authentic' has been used to such proportions that those who wish to be so no longer use it in order not to seem it’s opposite. So now those who wish to be authentic don’t say ‘authentic’ so that they can be authentic.
We over think this stuff way too much.
We were all created to be authentic. We were created to be the same thing in our own way.
Authenticity, when boiled down, is honesty. It’s what Jesus meant when we spoke to the Samaritan woman that he met at a well, and said:
“For God is a Spirit, and he longs to have sincere worshippers who worship and adore him in the realm of the Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24).
I wrote a whole series on this back in February 2017 called “The Well.” So many different things have been said about what spirit and truth mean in context to this verse and our lives. We’ve overcomplicated it, made the standard impossible, and continue to misinterpret it.
God is a spirit. We have a spirit. Underneath out clothes and skin and image and all the things we project from our lives and hide underneath is the essence of who we are. Spirit to spirit we are connected to The Divine. It’s like our deepest and truest touch point. And truth? It doesn’t mean that somewhere there is an unchanging dot point list of truth, and we can only worship God when we can worship him through the checklist of listed truths… nope.
“Truth is not something that you can attain; it's not a statement or code. You will never arrive at THE truth.
Truth is lived into.”
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The Greek word for truth used here in John is “Aletheia,” and subjectively it means, “Truth as a personal experience.” Objectively, Alethia is the truth and/or reality that is taught. In other words, it’s something that we learn. In Jesus day, a Rabbi would teach his disciple by taking him on the road so he could learn in the living. It’s the experience, the journey; wisdom embodied, the life we’ve lived. Our truth.
In other words, truth is not something that you can attain; it's not a statement or code. You will never arrive at THE truth.
Truth is lived into.
These days, I wholeheartedly believe that Christianity is much more a homecoming than it is a rescue mission. In our pursuit to find community and belonging, somehow we’ve ended up cloning and shaming and hiding. Desperate for approval, to fit in, to be on the right side of things.
But there is no right side of things. There is just your spirit and your truth connected to the spirit and truth of The Divine. Honesty and authenticity both ways.
It’s a beautiful, gracious intimacy.
What is your truth? That’s for you to find out. Follow spirit, don’t worry about whether you’re too authentic to use the word authentic, and embark on a journey of discovery. Live truthfully.
That is, of course, what worship ultimately is.
Written by Liz Milani