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When do I worship?

I was recently in a church I love for an act of worship with a small congregation, and I found myself wondering ‘At what point does this act of worship begin? And when does it end?’ Does it begin with the words of the opening prayer? Does it end with the Blessing?

I wonder.

Is worship something that we do from time to time in a particular place? Or might it also be a quality of being that could happen at any time or indeed all the time?

The previous afternoon I sat in the sunshine in Greenwich Park smoking my pipe. In front of me were flowers of many different colours all beautiful: red, orange, purple, yellow, white. And all, so it seemed to me, offering worship to their Creator in the only way they knew, simply by being.

There were trees, with fresh bright spring leaves, that have been there from before I was born and will be there still when I am dead, all worshipping their Creator simply by being.

The squirrels worshipped as they played, the birds as they sang and courted each other, the ducks as they bobbed up and down in the water. All worshipping their Creator simply by being, and seeming to enjoy it, and without undue effort.

As I walked back across the heath the sun shone and warmed me as it worshipped, the clouds hurried across the sky as they worshipped, and the wind worshipped as it buffeted my face.

If the rest of creation can worship simply by being, and all the time, then why not me? What is so difficult?


  1. Julian Maddock

    Ah, Henry. Thank you. Isn’t this the question?

    One of my favourite poems is Fish in the Unruffled Lakes by WH Auden. It was set to music by Benjamin Britten. It speaks to our condition of being unable spontaneously, naturally, unselfconsciously to worship. I read the “you” in the last stanza as either a human lover or as God/Jesus.

    I think and write about this a lot. This offering is my latest effort.


  2. Nigel Crooks

    I don’t remember the last time I went to church. I didn’t attend a service, I just wanted to be in a place that made me feel close to God. Many years ago I was a Lay Reader, only for a couple of years and then my circumstances changed and my full time employment took over more of my spare time. I found myself unable to focus and stopped going to church altogether. I’ve been to several churches and cathedrals, and I have a local Abbey that I go to when I need that little bit more. Within the Abbey ruins is a chapel of the Holy Spirit where I used to go for retreats. Next to the abbey is a catholic church where I also find inner peace. I don’t specifically ‘worship’ in churches any more. I worship when I’m in my car, in my home, in my garden, wherever God moves me to worship Him. I deny His reality at times, but it’s a lie. He is within me, moulding me, shaping me, moving me where he wants me. Doing his work everyday with people I meet. I don’t need to say anything about God, God works without my knowledge. I live, He lives in me.

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