Students Brave Freezing Temps for Sunrise Worship

Migrating waterfowl raise feathered heads from nests of trampled reeds to listen. Across the darkness of the prairie an unfamiliar sound disrupts the silence. It is cloudless and still, the only light from the low hanging crescent moon. “Tap-tap-tap,” a rhythmic pulse on hollow wood, a chord strummed against strings, and the belltones of a xylophone break the silence. A few yards away, people are gathered in a secluded amphitheater to sing up the sun. A few fading stars flicker and then disappear as the Eastern horizon grows lighter. Silhouettes of musicians appear, coaxing melody from their instruments with cold fingers. A swell of voices rises like steam from the nearby pond.

“The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning,

It’s time to sing my song again…”

They stand together, swaddled in flannel, wool, and down. Their breath escapes in clouds of vapor.

“Bless the Lord, oh, my soul,

Worship HIs Holy Name…”

Minute by minute the sky lightens, revealing tall prairie grasses bowing under silver frost. Empty milkweed pods with beards of snow-white seeds huddle companionably next to the skeletons of black-eyed susans. Faces among the crowd of Hillcrest students are now recognizable in the yellow light of day. The musicians are not alone but joined by dozens of teenagers who rose in the dark to greet the day with worship. They join all creation to praise the Creator in this perfect setting to begin the Lord’s Day.

“In the morning, O LORD, hear my voice. In the morning I lay my needs in front of you, and I wait.” Psalm 5:3