I pass the same church every day I take the tube anywhere. It is called St. Paul's (but not the famous one) and on the way to the South Kensington Station. On Sunday evenings around 8:00 there is a large group of young people outside. On Wednesday nights there tends to be a group of people who appear as though they may not have a "proper home". There are always people and they always seem very friendly. I have wanted to go to a service at this church since Midterm break, but things just kept coming out. Sometimes I would be in another country and other times I would just keep sleeping or go to a different church... or forget what time the service was. Well today, on Easter I finally made it to this church and I only wish I had made it here earlier.
There were chairs on the outskirts of the worship hall and some couches forming three sides of a rectangle (leaving the area where the pulpit and band were open) inside of the chairs, but with a large walkway. Then in the middle of that rectangle were seat cushions... lots of seat cushions. I arrived at eleven. That was what time the sign said the service said to start. Eleven was actually when there was brunch to buy. I bought some food and sat down on one of the seat cushions on the floor. I began flipping through a nearby Bible and watching the little ones interact in their Easter outfits. There were a lot of young people in the congregation, but some old as well. Eventually the service began and it was like a nice mix between chapel at Hope and my home church... without the pews. The sermon was good, just a nice Easter service. We prayed a lot and took some special time to pray for the people recovering from the earthquake in Italy. We sang quite a few songs, some I knew and some I didn't, but all very nice. And you could feel people singing around you. It was a very warm feeling. I even went up to communion barefoot; I was comfortable. When the service ended the leader invited everyone to stay as long as they wanted (which people did) and if you would like someone to pray with or for you to come forward and someone from the Ministry team would pray for you because that's what they like to do... and when he said it, he meant it. I sat about for a bit as the music continued. People got up and talked with friends. I flipped through the Bible a bit and prayed, prayed a lot. Sometimes you just need to... and sitting in an open sanctuary on a seat cushion is a good way to go about it. Then, I put on my flip-flops and walked back to my residence hall.
As I walked back the air smelled as it did when I left in the morning. I craved my mom's breakfast casserole as the smell of Easter brunch floated out of homes and restaurants. It was a wonderful start to a day spent on attempted (and not necessarily succeeded) studying. I hope yours was renewing in its own sense.
Note: The only thing the service was missing was a bit of:
"Go In Peace, Serve the Lord"
"Thanks Be to God"