Praise God in his sanctuary.
Praise him in his mighty expanse.
Praise him for his powerful acts;
praise him for his abundant greatness.
Praise him with trumpet blast;
praise him with harp and lyre.
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and flute.
Praise him with resounding cymbals;
praise him with clashing cymbals.
Let everything that breathes praise the Lord.
Psalm 150 (CSB)
If church is defined as a “house of worship,” then I can’t think of a better house to worship God in than the mountains. I am awed by the grandeur of His handiwork and made small by His greatness. I believe we meet God best when our hearts are stilled, and we are humbled by His majesty and power.
I had church at the Maroon Bells of Colorado today.
Nature preached a sermon that echoed off rugged cliffs and into the valley below. “Grace upon grace,” murmured the bubbling streams that fed the still lake. “God with us,” whispered the shhhh-ing of the aspen leaves as the winds picked up their voices and scattered them upon the earth.
God with us. Grace.
Despite the turmoil of this world and the problems that seem unsolvable, God’s presence is still with us. His grace is still at work to draw us near and to let us hear and know and see the Almighty One. I believe that, but sometimes I forget it.
I’ve had church in many places: I’ve worshiped while washing dishes, I’ve met God at my mailbox, and my car is one of my favorite places to pray. Of course, gathering anywhere with other believers is church. I’ve had church in arenas with 10,000 people singing together. I’ve had church in the barn, where it smells like manure and hay and dust. I’ve experienced church in my living room, with an open Bible and a cup of coffee. Sometimes church comes when you can snatch a minute away from the busyness of regular life.
But the church I love best is in nature. It is here that I am face to face with the mystery — and mastery — of God Himself. Today, I sat in silence and watched the sunlight chase clouds over the mountain peaks and ignite the aspens with vivid color. There simply are no words that can capture the experience of it. I breathed in and closed my eyes and stilled my heart.
As I turned to leave, my eyes fell on a small piece of driftwood at the shore of the lake.
To my eyes, it looked exactly like a wing in flight. I tucked it in my pocket as a reminder of this moment in God’s magnificent sanctuary. Maybe angels above are singing, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just my heart that fluttered at this perfect little find. Maybe there is a message in it for me somewhere. I’m not one to go looking for signs.
But this I know: Grace upon grace, God is with us still. This, my friends, is church.
This message was written by Rachel Anne Ridge, as published in the (in)courage Devotional Bible and the Summer (in) the Psalms Devotional Journal.
Today’s post concludes our summer Bible reading series, and oh, was it a good one! We are so thankful to have journeyed with many of you through these weeks as we read forty Psalms together. If you missed a video conversation or want to walk through the Psalms yet yourself (there’s no rule that says you can’t do this study in the fall!), find all the details and videos right here.
Kim Gibbens says
The repeated phrase through the Psalms, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” stood out to me this summer. Just like parents repeat what is important for their children to understand, God repeats what is important for us to know. God must truly want us to know deep in our souls that He loves us. He wants us to trust that no matter how we feel or interpret our current circumstances, His steadfast, faithful, never-ending, constant love endures forever…He will always love us.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I love your observations. What a good, good Father we have who continually reminds us of His unfathomable love for us! It is good for our souls to give Him thanks.
John Louis Emerson says
This devotion puts into words my experience with
God. So grateful I need books to keep going.
Please give a phone number to stay in touch and
Beth Williams says
God is with us always. Church should never be defined by buildings. Truth is we, the people, are the church. It doesn’t matter where you are or the time of day you can have church & worship Almighty God. I’ve danced in my kitchen to Stephen C. Chapman & praised God in the midst of a trial with aging dad. You can sing, pray, cry out to God anywhere you are. Pray on the way to or from work, sing loudly on way to church to get in the right frame of mind. Looking out at nature & seeing majestic mountains, bodies of water really brings His majesty & mystery home.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I needed Summer in the Psalms. What a breath of fresh air in a turbulent and uncertain world. I particularly enjoyed the discussion on Thursdays and the insights each of the (in)courage team members drew from the week’s readings. David, in most cases, started each Psalm with presenting his honest and raw emotions before God, but He always ended each Psalm by praising God and giving Him thanks for His faithfulness. I would do well to immitate David’s example in my own life. Loved this Bible study!
Thank you for this awesome reminder….God is always with us and He speaks to us, but are we listening? These past 6 months have definitely given us more opportunities to be still, quiet before the Lord. With the lack of schedules and commitments, we found ourselves left to ponder life when all the noise had retreated. It was always there, we just chose to replace it with priorities of a different mind set. I pray it has brought us back to a place of dependency upon Him. Yes, let us look to His beautiful creation, the living room of our homes, our backyards and wherever we find ourselves to indeed worship our Lord who is worthy. Church is our hearts devoted in worship, especially in a time when corporate worship is out of reach for many. So you do church and enjoy His presence outside those four walls or within if that is where you find yourself.
Thank you all so much for encouraging us with God’s message of His everlasting love, kindness and faithfulness. Distractions can block out what God is trying to tell us, but if we Be Still and listen His message becomes clear.
Blessings to all,
Marinalva Sickler says
I loved your reflection and your thoughts in worshiping. Nature and a barn. It’s just wonderful.
Camilla Hubbard says
Our Zoom Bible study this morning concluded with this – “Give thanks that we can worship in the presence of God anywhere and any time through the death ofJesus for us.” (Pathway- One Life Under God, week 4) And my husband and I loved the Jim Reeves song “My Cathedral” – very special. Thanks for this confirming post. Often pray in the car – (eyes open of course).
I find these in-courage posts and many of the comments to follow, most comforting and inspirational. Thank you all.
Deborah Burdzy says
Oh Rachel, you know that God speaks to me through your gentle words…they always cause my soul to stir, comfort me, encourage me, inspire me and bless me.
I’m in the psalms 🙂 love it. Thanks for all !!!
Miriam Luka says
My favorite time to worship is in my garden when I see all the handiwork of the Creator. On my morning walks as I listen to the birds singing and flying in the beautiful blue skies. Yes I miss my corporate worship but as you said you do not need four walls to find church.