Middle Fork Church." That day was so splendid that I returned for a second Sunday at the request of my good friend David (left). I thought of it as an opportunity to bring a friend to "church."
I know I've "been to church" when I've spent intimate time with God, or worshiped God. And yes, worshiping God can (and should) extend beyond the walls of a church building. God is not tied to any building we construct; His presence stirs all around us. And as such our worship is free of set rituals. Worship is simply our response to a God who initiates His love for us.
On Colorado's South Platte River, I worship God, waving my fly rod to the rhythm of an age-old symphony. I thank Him for the mountain majesty in all directions, for the water flowing over my boots, for the curious deer on the ridge, and for the simple blessing of being in this place. I love being alone with God, unhindered, without distraction.
But there is another aspect to church, a more accurate definition: community. We are also meant to worship God together, to share in His presence with each other. Jesus said, "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst" (Matthew 18:20, NASB). Community reveals another dynamic of God's nature.
Last Sunday, God used the time alone to calm me down, take my eyes off of my problems and turn my heart toward Him. I needed a pause--nothing more, nothing less.
This Sunday (with David), God brought sense to where I'd left off. I caught a few answers to the bigger questions and, coincidentally, caught a bigger fish. (smile) My heart was prepared to listen.
Spending the day with a close friend, a brother even, allowed me to hash out the turmoil inside. I know David's heart for the Lord, and sharing with him brought a fresh perspective to what I was seeing, and more importantly not seeing.
As David allows God to work in his life, that wisdom sheds light on my own life--a benefit of not going solo (see The Master Belayer). Iron sharpens iron--the blessing of community.
Here's a video from our time on the water: I'm reeling in a rainbow trout...slowly. I learn more through the process of retrieving a fish versus the end catch itself--things like proper line tension, rod angle, exhausting the fish appropriately, remembering to breathe (smile)--tactics that improve my skills for the next cast. Because when we rush through, they often get away...just like answers.
(And without community, I wouldn't have this video. Thanks David!)
A short aside... If you're a fan of author Jerry B. Jenkins, this spot is not far from his Colorado writing "cave". A beautiful area. I hope you enjoy!