Worshipping outside of church

As much as worship music often does not seem worshipful, being outside in nature does.

I recently went to visit an old college friend. She’s one of those friends who makes my heart smile. We usually end up having deep, real life discussions. She’s deeply spiritual, but has also struggled greatly with Christianity. I knew I could be open and honest about the crap going on in my worship world and she would totally understand.

On Sunday morning, we had originally intended to head to her church before I had to take the long journey home. Saturday evening before bed, we made a change of plans. We began talking photography terms (the “creative release” for both of us) and decided we would get up early to catch the sunrise on the beach. We packed our cameras up and went to bed early. (I was glad for the time change that weekend! We desperately needed that hour.)

We woke up the next morning groggy and disoriented (partly because our phones set themselves back TWO hours instead of one). We bundled up to prepare ourselves for the brutal wind on the beach. I slipped on two pairs of pants and grabbed an extra pair of socks, just in case. I borrowed a jacket and we waddled our way to the car.

We lamented the fact that Starbucks wasn’t open yet, and I commented that I hadn’t been up this early since my days of working at a coffee shop. As we drove through the quiet streets, I gazed at the dark horizon and wished yet again that I could be more of a morning person. I love the quiet of morning; unfortunately, I don’t always wake up so well. As I wiped sleep from my eyes, I teased her, “Whose stupid idea was this?” even though I was totally excited at our photographic experiment.

We arrived at the beach and discovered we were almost alone. Early morning fishermen were our companions. We grabbed our camera bags and tripods and trekked our way out to the beach. I set up and played with my settings, hoping that I would get it right. We had about ten minutes until the sun was over the horizon, so we snapped pictures of the intense waves that were washing onto shore.

It was peaceful, beautiful, and with the exception of the waves crashing onto shore and the click of our shutters, totally quiet.

The sun started peeking over the horizon and we began to rapid fire.

It was a bit overcast, so we didn’t get the drastic colors that we had hoped for, but it still turned out beautiful.

Standing out on that quiet beach with a dear friend was more worshipful for me than scripted music. No matter how confusing or overwhelming life gets, I can still sense God in nature. I don’t think I should be skipping church every week (although that’s been my latest tactic… avoidance is so much easier than actually dealing with the issues), but I’ll take the sweet worshipful moments when I can.

Question: What ways do you worship outside of church?

2 Replies to “Worshipping outside of church”

  1. That angle for the pier is epic! And the touches of light just add to the sunrise feeling. I’d love to post it in our community gallery if thats ok. Let me know if you might be interested in sharing it with our creative community there (www.savetheartist.net/community). 🙂

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