Let all things their Creator bless…
For years now, our congregations have been sorting out whether they should worship God in traditional worship and music (which once was innovative and controversial), in contemporary styles (which will soon enough be “traditional” or discarded), and so forth. Whatever the merits of those disputes, I count myself among those blessed by the varied expressions of praise of God. I love the morning worship with the monks at St. John’s Abbey, organs and United Methodist liturgies, and all the drums, guitars, saxophones, cellos, keyboards and harmonicas out there. I just don’t care so much what the sound is, so long as it is joyously made and is offered to bless God’s holy name!
Now (too late have I loved Thee), I’ve also been introduced to the bubbling, near silence of what I’d call “Snorkel Worship”. While vacationing on a sailboat near Tortolla Island in the Caribbean, I had my first exposure to snorkeling on coral reefs. It was like entering a new world of beauty that was glorifying God! This worship service has been going on for millennia, for ages! Here were communities of yellow-striped, blue, green, and silvery fish, playing the instruments of their God-donated natures! Here were octopi, dolphins, sea turtles, wispy jellyfish, rays, groupers, more and more! All played their instruments and sang their hymns with wonderful un-selfconscious freedom. They were their praise; their praise was their being! None doubted the worth or the beauty of what all offered, each in their own way.
My guide on my first snorkeling adventure was a woman, Ann (the Holy Spirit?), who swam near my wife, Mary Lynn, and our companions, and every so often, Ann would simply and silently point at some new beauty until we could actually see and recognize it in the reef. It was all lovely and stirring. Glory, glory, glory from creature to Creator.
Experiencing this, I wondered how we could ever think that “worship” could be contained in a 55-minute hour? Or how be better composed by Isaac Watts than by the silvery flashes of an endless stream of little fish? How could there be better or lesser praises?
Apparently, when you participate in Snorkel Worship, you just show up and glorify and bless by being.