Outdoor worship

As we ascended the western slope of Wester Craiglockhart Hill, the sun climbed over the eastern rim of the earth and sent rays of orange light over the water towards us. A group from my church had decided to gather early in the morning to pray for our city, out in the city itself, rather than in our usual habitat of a church building or members’ house.

It felt somewhat exposing to be singing songs to God and praying in a public place, however off the beaten track it was – a dog walker and an early morning runner viewed us with polite British distance – but it was also a wonderful to experience truly multisensory worship. We had miles of views all around us, including hills, mountains, rivers, and the blossoming of spring; the cries of birds reached our ears as we sang; the wind ruffled our hair (and sent a few chills through us).

Humans were meant to worship this way. Even the Temple, the magnificent building that was the location of the presence of God in the Old Testament, was decorated with natural imagery, recalling the Garden which God had made for us to live in with Him originally. And we will worship this way. One day there will be the sound of singing on all seven of Edinburgh's hills, and the sun will have been replaced with the light of God Himself (Revelation 22:3-5).

Finding ways to praise God outside anticipates this, and opens up new possibilities for us: quietly praying on a hill by yourself, putting worship music in your headphones as you walk around your local area, even camping at a Christian festival!