When I went exploring yesterday afternoon, I deliberately did not go into the Church. Partly, there were lots of tourists around, and partly because I want my first venture in to be for worship, not just for a look.
What a grand, ancient space! Nonetheless, it seems timeless at the same time, with past, present and future all swirling around and hinted at. Both long and tall, and yet somehow intimate. Last night I sat in the quire, and this morning near the back. Both felt equally inclusive and engaging. Unlike some places (not naming names) the sounds system works incredibly well, and the difference to feeling included when so far back is large. Perhaps the importance moving the boxes in my Dining Room has moved up my ladder of priorities 🙂
I am always grateful, but never surprised, at how comforting I find the gift of worship- especially when I don’t have to do any of it! Last night after worship I felt prepared and ready for sleep, because of the grace and restfulness of prayer in worship.
This morning’s worship too has given me that same feeling of wholeness and well-being. Thankfully not the need for sleep. It was joyful, serious, challenging, and, as one would expect, a well oiled machine. The Liturgy was familiarly Ionian, as was the music. I had a few foibles with Eucharist, but really thing that would bother most people. The was one special gift for all there, and while I realise it’s probably been said before but will say it again.
John Bell is an amazing preacher and minister of God’s Word!
His words were of hope and inspiration, and proclaiming the voice and place of Women!! With the reading from Numbers 27 about the daughters of Zelophehad, who spoke up for themselves and had their claim to inheritance affirmed by God. I’ll confess I didn’t know the story, and plan to sit and read more about them, but as John shared, the lectionary often ignores women, and especially women who are named and have a voice. Shame on me therefore for not knowing about the daughters of Zelophehad. John’s style and manner are very engaging, and you can’t help but hold on to his every word. What a gift to have shared in this experience this morning in the worship of God.
It’s my hope to spend some time in the Abbey in the next few days for some quiet reflection. It’s a special space to sit with God, and I need to just sit and listen and see what God is saying to me here.