Hello, my lovelies!
I’m writing this from a lovely little flat – from my bedroom in a flat in Shepherd’s Bush, London.
This is a rather poor quality photo from my Instagram story. Sorry, guys.
I can tell you that I’m having a marvelous time here in England’s capitol city. It’s busy. Very busy. It reminds me a bit of New York, just everyone speaks with an accent and it’s a lot more European. And tube sounds much more classy than subway.
Sorry, I had to.
The culture was a bit of a shock in the beginning, but I really do love London. We leave here for Oxford (eep) on Friday, and I’m savoring the minutes I have left in this beautiful place.
Oh, before I begin with the subject matter of this post, let me just show you all a few amazing things from around London…
One of my favorite things was Kensington Palace, the home of Princess Diana (I love her so much), and the childhood home of Queen Victoria. I’ve started watching the Victoria show with Jenna Coleman, and seeing Kensington was so exciting, considering the fact.
We saw Westminster Abbey yesterday, the incredible Gothic cathedral in the heart of London, and the burial place of Elizabeth I (I kissed her grave with my own lippers), Richard II, Richard III, Henry V (I kissed his grave, too, because I loved the Hollow Crown so much hahaha), Mary Queen of Scots, Dickens, Darwin, Hawking, David Livingstone, and Isaac Newton. That was amazing, as was the courtyard where they filmed a little bit of Harry Potter…anyone recognize it?
Didn’t see Hagrid, unfortunately…
I also loved the Tower of London, which was built in 1097 (WHAT??), and where my family and I saw the Crown Jewels (I felt major Moriarty vibes lolz), the medieval palace built by William the Conqueror, and the place where Anne Boleyn was beheaded. It was incredible. I LOVE medieval history.
This is me trying to look hip (which failed miserably) in front of 221B Baker Street (at least, the location for the BBC show). I’m a Sherlock mega fan, so I was very excited to be here:
And we saw the flat at 44 Eaton Square, the residence of the infamous Irene Adler (BBC/Pulver version).
That was also a pretty exciting Sherlock mega fan moment…
My phone was about to die when I took this, and everyone else’s phones had also perished valiantly before this, so I couldn’t get a selfie on time. My sister took a shot of me in front of the Woman’s house on her camera, but I’ll have to find that later.
Anyway, I’m not here to discuss how lovely London has been. It has been lovely, but I really want to discuss something that happened today at the famous St. Paul’s Cathedral in central London.
My family and I attended an Evensong service after touring the cathedral, and it was such an incredible time to pray, reflect, and praise Christ. I’m not an Anglican, but when I set foot in that cathedral, I could honestly feel the glory, grandeur, and presence of God. I don’t believe in the veneration of Mary or the saints, but Jesus was venerated in that place, and it was real.
I was unable to record any of the Evensong performance, because it was illegal. Not illegal, just against church rules.
And I like following church rules, so there.
Anyway, it lasted about a half hour, but that half hour, just standing in the middle of a glorious Baroque cathedral, listening to choral music and filling myself up with the beauty of Christ, was a moment I shall cherish forever.
It honestly made me think about churches in general. I’m not saying every church has to be a cathedral. But, when I stood in St. Paul’s today, it was a place where the environment actually drew me closer to Jesus. I saw him in the artwork. I saw him in the amazingness of the architecture. I saw him in the music that the choir sang. I saw him in the many people saying amen in unison.
I saw him in the three hundred sixty-five feet from the floor of the cathedral to the top of the dome. I saw him in the mosaics. I heard him in the Evensong.
I was lost in the magnificence of Saint Paul’s, and it wasn’t just how amazing the cathedral was, but how amazing Christ was.
I feel like sometimes, in America, we tend to minimize the splendor of Christ. We live in his love, surely, but we are ever discussing the grace, the love, the friendship of God.
And truly, this is essential to our faith! Christ is our friend, our love, and He extends grace to us each new morning.
However, how much do we wholly dwell on the majesty of God? His power, his might, his sovereignty? He indeed is King. Saint Paul’s Cathedral was built for him as a palace. It is a dwelling place built for a King. It was built for the sole purpose of Christ alone. A grand place for a grand God.
It echoed inside. The organs bellowed their tunes. The chandeliers glimmered and sparkled. Sunlight painted pictures on the marble walls as it streamed through the stained glass windows. It was beautiful. All of it. It was beautiful just as He is beautiful.
He is so beautiful, so worthy, so good to us. He is King, God, Savior, Father, and Leader of us all. He has the ability to stop my heart from beating, but He lets me live. He gives me the gift of love, the gift of life, the gift of laughter. He is to be worshipped, praised, feared (as you would fear a King in his presence), and respected.
As I stood under the vaulted ceilings of Saint Paul’s, I was in awe at the insanity of it all. The insanity of this immense place. I was challenged to question my heart toward God. Do I revere him just as the builders of this cathedral did? Creating so splendid a masterpiece for the worship of a God they saluted?
The Ascension. What a beautiful mosaic that was. Yes, my friends, the picture above is of a mosaic. A mosaic. A bunch of tiny stones pieced together to make a large picture. The Ascension pictured above is a mosaic.
Again, in awe.
I like to imagine the makers of this mosaic being fueled by a fire for their maker. As they placed each stone into its ordained position, I wonder what servitude and love must have filled their hearts for the God they served.
What insignificant humans we are. Creating palaces for a God who is much too big for him. Honoring Him with our creativity because of how much we love Him.
Saint Paul’s breathes the word reverence at every turn.
Reverence for God, His people, His story, and His sovereignty. His strength. We bow in our small humanness to His grand holiness. We humbly bend our knees and lift our hands, crying out to Him and beseeching Him to use us.
And it doesn’t feel like slavery.
It feels good.
“Abraham answered and said, ‘Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes.’ “
It is an inglorious thing to feel like dust and ashes before the Lord…to offer up our best to the God of creation. To ask Him to look down on us and to love us. And He does, because He always has, even without our asking. He loves us, cares for us, and died for us. We have life through Him.
And St. Paul’s was a reminder today of just how immaculate our God is. How worthy He is of our praise. The lengths those builders went, the lengths the choir went, the lengths I went to worship there were long, because the God we serve is holy and is worthy of it.
Just a thought.
P.S. I’ll post another England update in a few days. Hopefully with a London vlog. I just felt super theological and philosophical today at St. Paul’s. 😉