It’s quite odd being between churches. I wanted to go to church today. I didn’t want to go where I am known, so last night I decided to go to the Cathedral. When I woke up this morning I decided to go to a different Cathedral, service slightly earlier, travelling slightly longer. So off I journeyed, looking forward to anonymity, peace and singing. This first paragraph already documents enough changes of mind for regulars to recognise that my mind is well and truly over-occupied, mainly with matters domestic.
Predictably enough in a city I don’t know very well, half the car parks were apparently shut, and the other half were on the wrong side of town. So having parked, I started walking. Ye gods and little fishes, the wind was perishing cold. And then I saw a (to me, curious) sight. There was a church*. And there was a man standing outside, shaking hands with people and greeting them as they entered.
I had driven some miles, and passed several churches on my way, in order to worship at the Cathedral. I walked three paces beyond, thought “stuff this” and turned back, had my frozen hand shaken, was smiled at, welcomed, and gently thrust inside.
Thank God for a warm welcome, a clear liturgy, the official welcomer who let me pray, then wandered over and said “I don’t think I’ve seen you before???” but didn’t linger for ages. Thank God for hymns I knew, and hymns I didn’t, and for the lovely people afterwards who asked if I was interested in joining the choir. Thank God for a sermon well preached (no notes), very context specific, but of enough relevance to me to keep me engaged. Thank God for an invitation to coffee, people to chat to, and even some questions answered.
Thank God for space and time with God, and for encouragement offered by Christians in a very different context to mine. Thank God for the Christian family.
But most of all, thank God for the plans we lay, nurture and try to put into practice, and thank God they fall apart.
*I haven’t identified the church. It met a particular need I had today. If you want to know where it was please tweet me @clairemaxim1