Sunday, June 29, 2014

45 Days in London: Day 6

Church and more church! 

This morning we attended our regular church services at the Hyde Park Chapel, which is right next to the Victoria & Albert Museum, on Exhibition Road. Church here is a truly international experience. We heard not only from a black Londoner, but also from a speaker from Spain who was half-Japanese. (He talked about feeling very at-home in multi-cultural London). And the closing prayer was in Spanish.

The talks, by the way, were outstanding. The first woman spoke about prayer. She told amazing stories from her childhood, about being taught to pray by her mother. She recited the entire 23rd Psalm with such power and conviction. She then described her own seeking for guidance in adulthood. She said that one morning she was rushing off to work and didn't have time to pray or read her scriptures. She heard a voice tell her to read her scriptures, more than once, so somewhat reluctantly made the time. Then the voice instructed her to pray. Again, she felt she didn't have time, but the prompting was repeated. While she was on her knees she heard someone open her front door, and assumed it was her mother. She heard the footsteps on the stairs and continued to pray, feeling total peace. She then heard someone turn the knob on her bedroom door. She opened her eyes briefly and saw a rough-looking criminal there trying to enter her room. But he was unable to budge her bedroom door more than a crack. Still surrounded in total peace, she continued to pray. The thief left, and her apartment was undisturbed. She said she learned that day how scripture study and prayer give us very real protection and she has never skipped those two steps each morning before leaving home.

 Westminster Abbey

This afternoon we attended Evensong at Westminster Abbey. On our way in we saw the graves of Elgar and Wordsworth. As we sat waiting for the services to begin, it was wonderful to look down the nave and imagine so many royal weddings  and coronations taking place there.

The choir and the organ were amazing. Truly glorious sounds resonating in that great hall! We also enjoyed participating in the liturgy. All that sitting and standing definitely keeps you from nodding off during the service. The sermon, which was honoring the apostle Peter (today was St Peter's day) talked about the impetuosity of Peter, and how in seeing him rise above his faults and become a great leader in the church is an example for us as we uncover and rise above our own weaknesses.

On the way out the organ was even louder and more glorious than before. It was the perfect wrapping-up of our sabbath day. 

Since we were in the neighborhood, we took a closer look at Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. I am amazed at the way Parliament rises up out of the water. There is literally no shoreline. The water comes right up to the wall of the building. How does it not flood?

No comments: