VISITING HOURS ARE OVER
Written By: Khalilah Shelton
This summer my family suffered a very traumatic house fire. My children were in the hospital for two weeks receiving intensive care for burns and smoke inhalation. I sat in this hospital everyday for two weeks. At a certain hour each day a voice came over the loudspeaker saying “visiting hours are over.” The hospital gave specific instructions that if you were not immediate family, you would not be allowed to remain in patient rooms after certain hours.
Throughout the New Testament, Jesus often talks about there being specific instructions for when certain hours come. He tells his mother at a wedding in Cana that his hour had not yet come when she asked him to do a miracle. When the Jewish leaders sought his life he escaped because his hour had not yet come. In John 4:23, Jesus tells a Samaritan woman that the hour is coming when no one would be able to worship God from afar. The Samaritan woman’s worship consisted of going to a place (a well) and doing acts of worship while not understanding the Who behind what she was doing. She visited the well and worshipped, doing what she knew to do while visiting this place, but she had not developed the relationship with God that was required to worship Him in spirit and in truth. The Samaritan woman had a theology that consisted of visiting hours, but when the Christ met her there she did not recognize him because she had not yet had a relationship with him.
“Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’ The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am he.’”
It’s easy for some of us to go to church and worship during “visiting hours.” It’s convenient to worship at a certain time, at a certain place, when the musical selection is just right. But, what happens Monday through Saturday when the cares of our lives could care less about our worship? What happens to our worship when visiting hours are over? Does it cease? Is He less worthy after hours?
There comes a time in every believer’s life when we have to reconcile our faith with our truth. If our truth is void of faith or our faith is void of truth, we will not have true worship of the True God. “God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” Do you know him? Do you have a relationship with him that allows you access after visiting hours are over? Do you desire to be in that place, not worshipping on a mountain or in Jerusalem, but in spirit and in truth?