Once a year we have our Sunday worship gathering in a park. It’s intentional though started by necessity. It began by needing to vacate our building that shelters a maximum of 100 men for at least six hours while the electricity was turned off to install a generator. The generator is needed in the event of power loss from a hurricane. (Since hurricane season is one of our two seasons in South Florida.)
We’re no dummies here and quickly learned we needed to make this an annual event. We book the largest pavilion in a state park. Our kitchen orders up food for 150 people, fills coolers with drinks on ice, and totes all the parts needed for a picnic lunch.
We take the dominoes, cards, chess game, football and volleyball. All the toys we can gather to play with before and after our time of singing and sharing.
We pick a Sunday in late February or early March. A time when rain and high humidity are less likely. We’ve had two years where we bundled up in our jackets and hoodies and stayed in the sunshine longer as the morning greeted us with 40’s and 50’s. Or, what we call winter. This year the temperature was lovely but the winds a bit fierce keeping swimmers out of the ocean that is just over the dunes.
Always, we’ve enjoyed the sunshine. The literal one shining overhead and a warmth generated by the Son that shines within.
“You don’t get to decide to worship. Everyone worships something. The only choice you get is what to worship.” – Timothy Keller
Maybe like you, I grew up thinking worship was done inside a church building on Sunday mornings. Even though we had church on Sunday nights and Wednesdays, it was Sunday morning that we worshiped. In my mind and life, worship was defined as singing and praying with others in church.
At some point, I realized worship couldn’t be contained to place or posture. Worship was more than music and prayers. It was just more.
Changing our physical surroundings seems to free the expression of worship. Sitting in the open air we notice the creation and recognize the Creator. The wind blew strong as if God’s spirit was saying, ‘look, I’m here’.
For some, they see their service as worship. Volunteering for Habitat for Humanity or teaching a scouting group is one aspect of their worship, they’re giving to God.
My friend Judi worships with her art. Sometimes she paints during their church gathering but anytime she paints it’s part of her worship. She is praising God with the talents He’s given her.
I believe in the importance of worship together for regularly scheduled gatherings. It builds community among believers. But worship is much more.
The New Oxford Dictionary defines worship as “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity”.
I want to throw off the confines of my old beliefs and embrace a posture of worship that looks for opportunities to praise God. I want to express reverence to the most high God when I’m at preparing our meals, thankful for abundance. I want to show my adoration for his grace when I hear U2 singing about justice.
As Timothy Keller says, everyone worships something. I want my worship to be focused on Yahweh God because he alone is worthy of this devotion and glory.