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.
– Rachel Anne Ridge, as published in the (in)courage Devotional Bible and the Summer (in) the Psalms Devotional Journal.
Are you journeying through the Psalms with us this summer? If you haven’t started yet, it’s not too late! Join us.
Grab your Summer (in) the Psalms Devotional Journal for just $7.99! It includes forty selections from Psalms, twenty corresponding devotions from the (in)courage Devotional Bible, and reflection questions to use alongside the daily readings.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I’m with you…there is, most assuredly, something about majestic mountains that just makes me want to fall on my knees and praise the Lord! I can think of no better “choir” than the crashing waves of the ocean. People marvel at what Man’s hands have made, but give me Creation, and that is my house of worship. So true that “church” can be anywhere that we seek to worship God and be in His presence. I’ve done a lot of singing in my “SUV Sanctuary”. I love the odd looks I get from other drivers. I believe that there is no finer worship than walking, and talking, with God in nature…a beautiful house of God, by God. Great devotion!
I am reading through all off the Psalm and recently read Psalm 57. I love the contrast of despair and joy! It captures my own day to day. No I’m not in physical peril, but my heart can still feel that way in the stress of the day. But the joy of God’s rescue and faithfulness lifts me and brings my focus back where it needs to be!
I so agree that meeting God in nature is an especially intimate, peaceful, one on one experience. Thank you for this post. It brought to mind one of my favorite poems.
by Beryl Soward
My cathedral is a lovely place hidden in a glen,
And since I first discovered it, I often go there when
I want to be alone with God or simply just to think,
To sit there mid the beauty till the sky is tinged with pink.
My choirs are the little birds perched high up in the trees;
My organ music sweetly comes from the buzzing of the bees.
No church on earth boasts such a floor as my carpet plush and green;
Here in my own cathedral , I feel just like a queen.
How hushed is my cathedral, so quiet, still and calm…
I can almost hear a preacher read to me a psalm.
There is no perfume in all the world like the perfume in my glen
Of daisies,bluebells,hollyhocks, wooed by a tiny wren.
The pillars of my little church are the trees so strong and tall
Whose spreading boughs make up my roof, stretching over all.
I love to go there after God has washed the earth with rain,
Just to drink in all that beauty to the robin’s sweet refrain.
Alas! It’s time to leave my glen, the sun is sinking low,
But my cathedral waits for me…and this I always know.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalms 46:1
Psalm 46 is one of my favorites because it reminds me that God is in control. When the world falls into utter chaos He’s still in control. When fear wants to force me into fight or flight, this Psalm reminds me that I can be still and trust in Him.
Lisa Alred says
“For the Lord is good and his love endures forever, his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100.5 All too often I forget how good and faithful God is and I need to be reminded. At at this time there seems to be so much turmoil and uncertainties in this world but thank God that we continue to see the reminders every day of His presence in the beauty of His creation.
I love the Psalms!! I go to the Psalms the most when I need strength, encouraging, etc. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite! But Psalm 121 is at the top of the list :-)!!
Kimberly Coney says
I was in a Bible Study group this past spring and we had to memorize Psalm 121. I love it. One of my favorites too. Hugs. 🙂
Mary E says
I downloaded the reading plan and got off to a good start, but sadly, I fell off the wagon. The psalms have never been in my list of favorite books, although they do contain many well-loved verses for me. However, your opening got me excited this morning—church in the mountains! How I love to sit quietly nestled up against a tree watching the day break and the woods spring to life. Church in the wild. It sings His praises—the awesome power of a glacier calving into the sea, the shear determination of salmon jumping up river rapids, the playful antics of sea otters in want of attention, the peaceful calm of the setting sun on a salt marsh lake, the incredibly brilliant vastness of a deep desert night sky. Day to day pours forth speech and night to night reveals knowledge. Psalm 19 reminds me of His creative works, His watchful eye, and His guiding hand. I think I will climb back on that bus for Summer (in) the Psalms.
Donna Kelly says
I am reading ps 42-43 today. It is hard to pick just one, they all have been makeing me look deeper in my life . I’m in a season of reflection right now, changes are comming. Praise God whatever it is, He will be there.
I love Psalm 119. When I feel lost and confused, it centers me. ❤️
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
I don’t want to win a Bible. I just want to say this point. We Christian are the Church. The unsaved watch everything we do. So we the unsaved. We have to be like Jesus kind loving and caring to people of all walks of life. Pray for them also. So them kindnesses like Jesus did. Watch what we say and do. As we are the hands and feet of Jesus to the world. We might not get our reward but we will get it in Glory with Jesus one Day. This is Church us Christian reaching out to thoes no one wanted like Jesus did. Showing we love them. Showing we care. Showing we are the hands and feet of Jesus the Church he wants us to be that expects everyone and leaves no one out. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xxx excellent reading
Carol Sumner says
So many Psalms could be my “Favorites”. Today, I will choose Psalm 103. “Bless the Lord, o my soul, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, o my soul, and forget not His benefits. Who forgives our sins and heals our diseases….. In May, 2013 I read this Psalm after surgery for breast cancer and those words stopped me in my tracks. I did not know the outcome of my diagnosis, but I was confident beyond all doubt who did know. I go back to that Psalm often and am reminded of His constant care for me. He is an awesome God.
The Psalm we read today… it came at the perfect time. I’ve been sick all summer with pneumonia and found a lump in my breast, which today was biopsy day. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed this morning. But reading Psalm 150 changed my attitude. I went in with praise on my lips and came away feeling good, praising God for everything today!
Beth Williams says
Church is not just a building. We the people of God are the true church. You can worship God anywhere & anytime you please. Nature has a way of “showing off” God’s majesty. His handiwork is seen in mountains, fall colors, oceans, etc. I have had church in my kitchen. When my dad was re hospitalized for “geriatric psych” I couldn’t stand to think about it. I found Stephen C. Chapman on You tube & sang/danced in my kitchen. Praising God for ALL the good things in life. Often times I sing in my car-loudly. Don’t care who’s watching. God sees & knows that I’m praising Him. One can pray all the time. You don’t have to bow your head. Bonnie Gray in her book “Whispers of Rest” said just do a breath prayer. Breathe in & say Jesus then breathe out & say help me. Use any words you choose. It’s that simple. Church is wherever & with whom ever you are. One doesn’t need a building. Heck go out on your front lawn to sing & pray to God. Tell Him your troubles & worship His wonderful majesty.
Connie Ray says
Psalm 31 really struck a cord with me when I read through it. I have highlighted and underlined nearly every passage in that chapter. Also, I love Psalm 34:17-18. Those two are verses I go back to whenever I am feeling anxious, worried, stress, etc.
Amen! Nature has always been the place I feel most connected with God!
Kimberly Coney says
Good morning ladies: I am a day late in reading this. I am enjoying reading through the Psalms. I enjoy camping. There is nothing like grabbing a cup of coffee before anyone else gets up and I grab my Bible and just let God guide me. I do have other resources to help me, but He knows what to show me. I love being in nature. This next week Im going to the beach camping with my hubby. Im looking forward to some awesome sunrises on the beach to watch God greet me in the morning. Thank you for all you do. Hugs and many Blessings. Kimberly
Psalm 139 has been my favorite; it inspires me regarding the depth and breadth and attentiveness of God’s presence in my life.
Areum Lee says
The Psalm I ❤️ Is Psalm 51. I read it all the time! I remember going through my divorce and I prayed this prayer before church and I was so broken at that time and cried through the whole service. Maybe it was God’s way of healing me.
I’m sure many will say the same, and it’s probably the best known – but I like Psalm 23.