The other day I spent some time talking to someone about church (a friend who was “turned off” by “hypocrisy” 50 years ago, and hasn’t been back since). I wanted to encourage him that the community of faith can be much different from the harsh, judgmental, discouraging place he remembers too well, and I found myself struggling to adequately describe my experience at WFPC.
Then – Saturday evening – I stumbled across this image, one I’d captured at Niagara Falls back in 2013. The photograph drew me in, and I realized it was helping me to put church into words.
- First, it’s a panoramic vista; the picture captures everything in one broad sweep.
- The experience of worship is the massive waterfall of God’s love, pouring constantly – it’s overwhelming, it’s constant, it’s a community experience, and it can’t be contained.
- In the foreground we see the simple beauty of the flowers, blooming in the microclimate that’s created by the constant nourishment and refreshment of the spray; the flowers show how we bloom and grow as individuals as a result of the shared experience that is a faith community.
- The boat, disappearing into the mist, reminds me how we can get immersed – swallowed up – in the torrent of God’s grace and beauty and love and majesty in worship, and we emerge literally soaked with the cascading presence of the holy.
- Then the river, rushing out of the picture, helps me think about how God flows in and through us, equipping us for service and sending us out into the world.
If you have never experienced God’s love as an ocean of mercy or a waterfall of grace, then I’d like to invite you to meet Jesus in a new context. Just check out the photographs, I really can’t explain it any better.
In love, and because of love – DEREK