(Jesus said) "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." John 4:23-24
Dublin, Ireland, has a patron saint: St. Laurence O'Toole.
Laurence lived in the twelfth century, but most of his relics disappeared during the Reformation. Thankfully, those who venerate relics believe the important part of him -- his heart -- was preserved and has been sitting in St. Lauds Chapel for many, many years.
Notice I said has been and not is sitting.
That's because somebody has stolen the heart of Laurence O'Toole. It is not the first such crime in Ireland. Saint Brigid's Church in Killester has had some of its relics ripped off, and in another location thieves used hammers and angle grinders to help steal a "piece" the true cross.
In the case of the St. Laurence robbery, those thieves passed by gold candlesticks and silver objects of church ware. They didn't want things of financial value; their focus was centered on getting that shriveled-up, old heart.
My question is why?
Are the criminals some college pledges who were given a challenge? Are they some people of faith who want to possess these relics at the exclusion of others; is it some crackpot fanatic from another religion who wishes to destroy these antiquities and injure the faith of those who believe in them?
While I don't have the answer to those questions, I do know this: our God is in the heavens, and He wants those who worship Him to do so in spirit and truth.
As Jesus told the Samaritan woman, the Lord is not found exclusively in Jerusalem or on Mount Gerizim in Samaria. He is not only in the heart of Laurence O'Toole, and He can't be confined or contained by a doubtful piece of the true cross.
It is in our hearts where Spirit-given faith in the crucified and risen Savior comes closest to us. It is in our tongues that our witness becomes personal in its presentation.
That is the kind of faith God wants us to have and the kind of proclamation He encourages us to make.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, like Elijah, humankind often looks for You in strange places. Grant us the realization that You can best be seen in the Holy Word that directs our eyes to Your Bethlehem manger, Calvary's cross, and Your borrowed and empty tomb. Let us see Your great grace and reflect it to others. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries