To Him, they must be playthings and toys!
(Thomas Spurgeon, "Spiritual Worship")
"God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." John 4:24
What does this phrase mean?
I have not time to analyze it closely. Suffice it to say, that the sentence stands as the antithesis of all external religious rituals. It stands opposed to Ceremonialism, Symbolism, Ritualism, and Materialism. "God is Spirit!"
Do not dream of offering Him anything that does not accord with His nature and with His essence.
If He were a material deity — then I might bring Him fruits, and flowers, and music, and so forth.
If He were a God of religious ritual — then I might deck myself with crosses, burn candles to Him, and waft incense in His honor.
But our God is a Spirit who rejoices more in the falling tear, the upheaved sigh, the heart prayer, and the heart praise, which "the common people" render unto Him — than in all the decorations and symphonies and temples of a man-made ritual.
What does the Spirit care for . . .
your stained-glass windows,
your snow-white altars,
your glittering gold ornaments,
and all your religious decorations?
To Him, they must be playthings and toys! If He takes any notice of them at all — it must be to laugh at them, and to hold them in derision!