"…They that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth" (Jn. 4:24)
INTRO.: A hymn which exhorts us to worship God in spirit and truth is "True Worship" (#178 in Hymns for Worship Revised, #9 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written and the tune was composed both by Tillit Sidney Teddlie (1885-1987). The song was first published in 1944. Teddlie was a prolific songwriter among churches of Christ. Some of his well known hymns include "Singing Redemption’s Song," "Hear Me When I Call," "Heaven Holds All to Me," "Songs of Salvation," "Into Our Hands" (with words by Ruth Carruth), "O God of Infinite Mercy," "The Depth of God’s Love," "In the Service of My King," "What Will Your Answer Be?", "The Lord’s Supper," and "Worthy Art Thou."
Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, "True Worship," sometimes identified by its opening line, "Of We Come Together," appeared in the 1965 Great Christian Hymnal No. 2 edited by Teddlie; and the 1978 Hymns of Praise edited by Reuel Lemmons. Today it may be found in the 1971 Songs of the Church and the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed. both edited by Alton H. Howard; the 1978/1983 Church Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; and the 1999 Into Our Hands: Songs for the Church edited by Leland R. Fleming; in addition to Hymns for Worship, Sacred Selections, and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat.
The song explains some of the things that God expects of worshippers when they assemble on the Lord’s day.
I. Stanza 1 talks about singing, praying, and offering
"Oft we come together, Oft we sing and pray;
Here we bring our offering On this holy day."
A. It is clear that God wants His people to come together on a regular basis: Heb. 10:24-25
B. When they come together, they sing and pray: 1 Cor. 14:15
C. When they come together on the first day of the week, they also bring their offering since it is a holy day because it is the Lord’s day: 1 Cor. 16:1-2, Rev. 1:10
II. Stanza 2 talks about eating the bread
"May we keep in memory All that Thou hast said;
May we truly worship As we eat the bread."
A. The purpose of the Lord’s supper is to remember the Lord’s death: 1 Cor. 11:26
B. Thus, when we eat we need to remember all that the Lord Himself said about the supper: Matt. 26:26-29
C. When we eat the bread, we are engaging in worship by remembering His body: 1 Cor. 11:23-24
III. Stanza 3 talks about taking the cup
"May we all in spirit, All with one accord,
Take this cup of blessing Given by the Lord."
A. In general, God wants His people to act with one accord: Phil. 2:2
B. This is certainly true when we take the cup of blessing: 1 Cor. 10:16
C. This cup of blessing was given by the Lord for us to remember His blood: 1 Cor. 11:25
CONCL.: The chorus asks the Lord to help us worship in spirit and truth.
"Help us Lord, Thy love to see;
May we all in truth and spirit worship Thee."
Occasionally this song has been used as an "opening song" for a Sunday morning worship service, but more often than not it is used before the Lord’s supper. It is not a song with deep theological content, but it uses simple words to remind us that partaking of the Lord’s supper on the first day of each week in memory of the Lord’s death is part of "True Worship."