I sat across the table from a friend, a condensation lined cold-brew coffee cradled in my hands. My eyes settled on the horizon in the background, squinting as the sparkle of the sunlight danced off the water and through the windows. Without even noticing it, I found myself completely lost in the moment and the view, which must have been obvious to my friend, because after a minute or so of my contemplative silence, she jumped in with a “okay, dreamer, what are you thinking?”

I laughed. Mainly, because anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a dreamer almost to a fault, often lost in a world of possibility and ideas and planning, and fueled by the potential of what can be. But, as I sat, it hit me that my thought wasn’t of being somewhere else or in anyway consumed with what was coming next, in that moment there simply wasn’t anywhere else I wanted to be. 

Just a few weeks before, I sat with a dear friend on a park bench in a quaint and historic British town on the outskirts of London, the last stop in a month of travel that took me from the dusty village roads and crowded urban streets of colourful India, snowy alpine passes in Norway’s interior, and the bustling streets of London-town. It was the kind of trip you plan and count-down to for months, an unusual combination of places, laced together because of the people in the places as much as (if not more than) the places themselves.

And it was incredible.

One of the hardest questions to answer when returning from a trip like this is the go-to, “How was it?” I never know how to answer that. It was an adventure. It was wonderful. It was tiring and life-giving all at the same time. I adored the combined diversity of the cultures and landscapes. The depth of the – very different – flavours. The slow mornings and full days and late nights with dear friends.

It was a gift, in ways I can’t quite describe. I think travel and adventure always is, in the way it inspires us to lean in and live more intentionally, more fully almost. How it wakes us up from some of the ways we can so easily just go through the motions in our own lives. How it it opens our eyes to see new things and to see familiar things in a new way.

And then I came home. And was quickly reminded that one of the very best parts of leaving is the getting to come home again. That as beautiful as it is to explore and adventure and see new things, there’s something particularly profound about the places we live our ordinary, everyday lives. There’s something about the streets of our own neighbourhoods and our regular coffeeshops and favourite restaurants and routine running routes and the messiness and familiarity of our offices and places of work. Something about the beauty and brokenness of our own cities.

Maybe the most radical act of worship we can give is to truly engage and be here. right here. right now: with these faces, these streets, these responsibilities, these joys, these flavours, these sunsets & these sunrises.

Because all of it is an invitation to know this God who hung the stars and yet cares about all the tiniest details of who we are. And invitation to enjoy Him forever. To live with no guilt in life and no fear in death. To rest in His unchanging character. To dive deep (and deeper still) into His heart. To taste and see that He’s good. To savour and celebrate all of the beauty and wonder and whimsy of a life fully embraced, not in the sense of selfish humanistic hedonism, but in the sense of living with open eyes, hearts ready to love boldly, feet ready to move, and arms ready to embrace all the beauty and challenges that life and breath have to offer us.

Maybe I’m starting to get it just a little bit more: the crazy gift of this ordinary, walking around life. The full gamut of emotion and experience and wonder and frustration and faith and failure. All of it: the most incredible gift. These moments we mistakingly call “normal.” These spaces that become far-too-familiar.

Maybe the most radical act of worship we can give is to truly engage and be here. right here. right now: with these faces, these streets, these responsibilities, these joys, these flavours, these sunsets & these sunrises.

Where being fully alive means a be-still-and-rest-because you-don’t-have-anything-to-prove and you-don’t-have-to-earn-love kind of living. A life that embraces the terrifying and yet freeing vulnerability of being willing to be seen and known and loved for who we truly are, not just the versions of us we try to perpetuate. The kind of living that tears down the insecurities and hesitations that hold us back from being the best versions of who we are.

An all-in kind of living, where worship meets us in every moment, because we walk into every place knowing that Christ is in us and sustains us and leads us and is crazy in love with us and madly in love with every.single.person we ever lock eyes with. Where the simple things are the big things. And the “ordinary” things are the extraordinary things: A fully alive kind of living.

A month away reminded me a bit more – in a thousand beautiful ways – of what that can look like, but this summertime sunshine dancing on these mountain peaks and city side-walks and these conversations with friends who are like family and all the ways that Jesus meets and wows us and sustains us and invites us to know Him deeper and more fully in the day-to-day is reminding that it’s here too: right here. right now.

St. Peter's Fireside