Lens-Artists Challenge #23: CELEBRATIONS

“If there is no celebration, there is no real worship.”

Steve Brown



The world is full of colorful celebrations, many of which I’m sure will be featured in this week’s responses to Amy’s Celebrations Challenge. I’ve decided instead to focus on a celebration that has become a part of everyday life for people all over the world – the celebration of worship.



“Everybody worships; it’s just a matter of what, or whom, we serve.”

Paul David Tripp

In our recent visit to Israel, we were amazed to see the number and variety of houses of worship. Our pre-conceived notion was that we would predominantly see synagogues and examples of Jewish culture – how very wrong we were. One of the things that most impressed us was the incredible denominational variety. There were as many Christian and Muslim churches, mosques, worshipers and pilgrims as there were synagogues.



“The purest worship is to simply love — without demand, without condition, without fear.”

L.R. Knost

Mankind has worshipped since the beginning of time. There is evidence of spirituality dating back 300,000 years to the paleolithic era. Many of the ruins we visited in Israel included evidence of religious worship. For example, the altar above is from Avdat in the Negev Desert, which dates back to the third century BC. 



“Worship is not what we do with our lips; it is what we do with our lives.”

Joel Balin

The celebrations we observed along the way included everything from a small gathering of Catholics observing mass among the trees to services in majestic churches and mosques (such as the Dome of the Rock below) that would rival the world’s most beautiful architecture.



“Worship can be defined as celebrating the availability of God.”

Larry Crabb



“Service is the highest form of worship.”

Debasish Mridha

For me, one of the most impressive examples of worship came from our visit to Petra in Jordan. To quote National Geographic “A worthwhile hike from the Royal Tombs leads up to the numerous places of worship on the flattened High Place of Jebel Khubtha.” As usual, if you look closely you can see many tiny figures, all of whom are tourists visiting the enormous structure. Originally built as a tomb, archaeological evidence points to its later adoption as a place of worship. Of course, National Geographic was correct – it was a VERY worthwhile hike!



“Churches would be empty ruins without the sinners who transform them into places of life, love and worship.”

Rev. Kellen Roggenbuck

I’ll close with the image above, which shows a section of Jerusalem I captured from a rooftop overlooking the city. I was drawn to the mix of religious symbol, including the Muslim minaret in the foreground and the Christian crosses in the distance. There is a certain joy one experiences during a visit to such an historic and spiritual place. For me it was a celebration of mankind’s better instincts – to worship freely, with respect for others’ beliefs, in recognition of the greater good. Would that we could all remember it more often.

Thanks to Amy for her thoughtful post – looking forward to seeing your responses.





84 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #23: CELEBRATIONS

  1. Pingback: The Door to China – Don't hold your breath

  2. Pingback: Lens-Artist-PC-Celebrations – WoollyMuses

  3. This trip was magical in more ways than I expected and I expected a lot. Watching you having the same feelings brought joy to
    my heart. Lucky me , traveling on this adventure together and being able to relive it thru your blogs. As I’ve often said your photos ,your thoughts
    and writings are the best.

  4. Started my quiet time this morning with this reflective post. It reminded me of a recent quote I heard… “ preach the gospel… when necessary use words.”
    Always such a treat to journey with you my friend.

  5. I find it humorous that without us sinners, places of worship will be empty. Imagine Holy Land an empty place. Heavenly shots, Tina.

  6. Beautiful as always. Your observations and comments make me realize how large this world is and how small my circle.

    Thank you.

    Keep in touch. Toni

    Sent from my iPhone


  7. I had the same expectations when we visited Israel two years ago, Tina, and my greatest revelation was also the diversity and the way people of so many faiths live side by side in this historic land. Your photos are stunning and truly capture the magic.

  8. Simply beautiful and thoughtful – and so true. I wish we all could live together in peace and understanding. “…to worship freely, with respect for others’ beliefs, in recognition of the greater good.” Thank you, Tina.

  9. I really like the Holy Spirit photo and enjoy your prose and quotes. It reminds me of something that a dear friend says, “Every Saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” Thanks for the reminder, Tina.

  10. Terrific images, Tina, especially Petra and Ancient Worship. My favorite places to worship are in nature’s cathedrals, but am awed by these architectural wonders around the world.

  11. I so love this post. I always love your photos and your musings, but this was so potent for me. Perhaps because it’s a holiday time for various religions and beliefs. “Everybody worships; it’s just a matter of what, or whom, we serve” causes me to think about the who or what everyone is choosing. Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas to you and Bailey.

  12. Tina, these are all fabulous pictures of places where I have never been, and now really want to go. I need to speak to you about how you went, a tour or solo? The pictures are so beautiful and inspiring, it is hard to choose a favorite. Thank you.

  13. I use a menorah made of stone from Israel, and it serves to heighten my emotions about a holiday that is really about the light in the dark. I’m sure that your trip had clear moments of inspiration and even joy.

  14. Pingback: Israel’s Colorful Variety of Religious Celebration – Timeless Wisdoms

  15. A very special and beautiful post for celebration. Thank you, Tina for sharing the everyday life for people all over the world! The photo of Petra in Jordan is indeed magnificent.

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