Many of us experience a special energy in worship when routine liturgical acts take place outside the church walls: processing around the block on Palm Sunday, offering ashes to strangers at a subway station on Ash Wednesday, attending a baptism at a public beach, or even simply gathering for or being sent from worship in a busy public place. The familiar becomes at least partly strange—perhaps uncomfortably so.
What contributes to this sudden strangeness? Can these acts teach us anything about Christian worship in general and its engagement with the wider world? Why worship out in public anyway?