The cross hangs prominently in the sanctuary of evergreens. The filtered light illuminates the aisles between the forest growth. The words of praise fill my ears, mind, and heart.
“My God will never fail. I am going to see a victory! I am going to see a victory. The battle belongs to you, Lord.”
Walking further down the trail, the worship quiets and the sermon begins in this church in the woods. It begins with a lesson of overcoming.
The attacks come. Discomfort, sweat pouring down, hungry stomachs, scratchy clothing. Pain, aching feet, sore muscles. Fatigue, body weak. Complaints, overwhelming focus on everything wrong.
“But God,” the preacher in the woods continues. “But, God is our strength and refuge. Our ever present help.”
Next up, a prayer of thanksgiving. “Our pain is real. But we thank you, God! Blue sky. Colors abound. My family. This worship. This day. This body carrying me on this hike. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, God. Praise you!”
The preacher in the church in the woods continues on. This portion of the sermon designed to focus our hearts on God.
“See how the flowers all point upward toward the Maker. The trees stretch high up to the Maker. The river water rushes toward the Maker. Every good and perfect gift is from the Maker.”
This Spirit-led service continues on to more worship.
“Everything you have made is beautiful. Oh my God, I can’t believe my eyes. In all of this to think that you’d still think of me, makes my heart come alive.”
The preacher isn’t done yet.
“The church is not a buliding. The church, Christ’s church, is everywhere. Anywhere. Anytime you see Jesus. Anytime you hear His words. Anytime you are filled with His Spirit and walk in it. There is the church. These woods, this very moment, you are at church.”
The preachers words and this church in the woods are what my soul needed this morning. No building. No plan. No choir or band.
In this church in the woods.