It is quite possible that, we as a church as an institution, may have accidentally monopolized worship — when and where and how it should/can happen.
As a pastor, I fully believe the power and necessity of corporate worship happening as a body of Christ, coming together as one spirit to worship our One God.
But, as a follower of Christ, I fully believe that corporate worship is not enough. Personal and private worship is just as important — I may argue that it may be more important.
A part of me feels that worship should flow from us, that everything we do is an act of worship and prayer.
A part of me also feels that we need to stop what we are doing, and be fully intentional in worship.
And a bigger part of me feels that the previous 2 part of mes are both correct.
Anyway, hiking has always been a very spiritual experience for me — particularly since we moved to Santa Barbara.
Mainly because, as a 31 year old, I am woefully (woefully) out of shape. So, in those hikes, I am calling upon the name of Jesus to save me
A “Jesus, help me” here. A little, “Lord, save me” there. A few “O God, please help me make it.” And a few more, “Why, God, why?” That ends with a “Thank you JESUS!” when we reach the top.
These past two weeks have been difficult, for reasons I do not want to go into. And, unfortunately, as much as I hate to admit it, I think the stress has been weighing me down and worse, seeping into the things I do for my church.
So when my wife asked if I wanted to go on a hike, it was a welcomed change of pace. Though in retrospect, maybe it was not the best day to go. It was the hottest day of the week, during the hottest part of the day. On top of that, for some reason, we both forgot that there was a wildfire happening near by.
But off we went.
And I have to say, it was one of the easier times I had walking up that mountain.
Maybe it was because it was all the stress being sweated out of my body.
Maybe it was the fresh air.
Whatever it was, it was a real nice break from the previous week.
And I didn’t have to call upon the name of the Lord to make it up to the top.
But it was still a spiritual experience.
As we walked up, I felt closer and closer to God — or more Wesleyan, my heart grew warmer and warmer. Who knows? Maybe it was the hotness of the day because at the end, there was one big wet spot around my chest on my shirt.
But, it was such a welcomed break from the routine of the past few days.
To be away it from all; to be away from the clutter of life; to be away from all the noise; to be detached –even for an hour or so– from the world and just… be.
Of course, that quickly changed when we got to the top and saw the billows of smoke from the brush fire that wasn’t too terribly far away. We snapped a few quick pictures and started making our way down.
As we made our way down, I begin to reflect about faith.
As Hebrews says, Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
If I don’t have faith, then what is it that I do have?
I have no idea what the next few days, weeks and months hold. But, one thing I do know: God is bigger than.
In the end, worship, to me, is simply being still and knowing God as Psalmist says in 46:10. Whether that’s on my own or with my church family or a different community of faith.
Recently, a friend gave me a copy of the CEB version and that version says:
“That’s enough! Now know that I am God!” And I really like that translation.
That’s enough… that’s enough of your complaining. That’s enough of your lack of trust and faith. That’s enough of your empty noise. That’s enough of your worries. That’s enough of all the things in your life that are pulling you away from me.
“That’s enough! Now know that I am God!”