When a National Park Leads Worship

delicate arch
That is what this spontaneous worship session felt like: We were crashing creation’s worship session.

Last weekend, a handful of the interns loaded up our cars and drove six hours west to Moab, Utah. It was four days packed with camping, hiking, singing, snacking and a lot of laughing.

On our first morning, we dragged ourselves out of bed at 5 and made it to Arches National Park by 5:30 to watch the sunrise. Wow is all I’ve got. We watched the pale morning light brighten into a golden glow on the deep red rocks and soaked in the stillness. It was breathtaking.

The usually packed park was completely empty of tourists, because who really wants to start their relaxing vacation with a 5 a.m. wake-up call? Well, besides me, I guess. As a morning person, I might be overly optimistic, but I firmly believe that sunrises are worth the early wake-up time. Did I mention how beautiful the sunrise was over Arches National Park?

That evening we drove back into the park to watch the sun set behind the iconic Delicate Arch. Watching the world wake up and go to sleep in the same day was pretty special.

Later in the week we found ourselves at Canyonlands National Park. If you’ve never been, imagine the Grand Canyon and you’ll get the picture. Except less tourists.

At one point in our hike, we found an overhang to sit on. As we stared over the vast canyon, someone began reciting Isaiah 54:10 — “’For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” Then someone began praying. Then someone began singing. One form of worship flowed into the next.

We weren’t the only ones worshipping, though. I couldn’t help but feel as if we were simply joining a song of praise, one that creation was already singing. In Luke 19:40, Jesus says that even if his disciples remained silent, “the very stones would cry out.” It seemed as if the rocks we were sitting on were crying out the name of the Lord.

Earlier on in the week, someone had commented that they felt as if they were photobombing nature. That is what this spontaneous worship session felt like: We were crashing creation’s worship session.

On our last day, we stargazed. A few minutes in, we saw a shooting star, and someone squealed at the sight of it. While I didn’t have the same vocal reaction, I had the same internal reaction. Wow. Once again, we lapsed into worship. Our voices echoed off the canyon walls, mixing with the song of creation.

Driving back that night under the starry blanket, I wept out of sheer amazement and gratitude. The Lord reveals himself and His glory in powerful ways. In Moab, He revealed himself through His creation.

In all honesty, it’s easy for me to forget the character of the Lord. I forget about His magnitude, goodness, glory, and love for His people. Isaiah 54:10 reminds us that the Lord has compassion, and despite His people’s forgetfulness, He will not take away His steadfast love and covenant of peace. Spending a few days surrounded by His creation was a startling reminder of who the Lord is. I felt His peace, His love, His glory. The Lord had compassion on my forgetfulness and reminded me of himself.

Moab means “from the Father.” How fitting! Those couple of days in Moab truly felt like a gift from the Father.

Copyright 2020 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved.

About the Author

melissa-schill
Melissa Schill

Melissa Schill is the Boundless intern this summer and will be working on projects for the blog, social media and “The Boundless Show.” She is a student at Wheaton College studying communication media studies, English writing and journalism. Apart from writing, Melissa is passionate about dance as a form of worship, and enjoys reading, cooking and spending time with her four younger siblings.

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