Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament at sunset
London was a huge busy city. I had traveled there for business, but arrived early so that I might sightsee a bit. I wanted to see the Elgin Marbles taken from the Acropolis, along with the Rosetta stone, and a list of other must sees. What I ended up being drawn to were the amazing buildings, shopping centers and public areas.
Perhaps the high point of my trip was Evensong in Westminster Abbey.
The Abbey itself is a national treasure, and I had visited a day previous, to be charged admission and steered through the abbey as through a museum. I was disappointed. I strive to visit many religious sites in my travels. Being charged admission is a way of raising revenue for churches, but keeps me at arms length from the spiritual and social community that make up the fabric of a congregation. It is that communion with the spirit of the church that I find so important. Fortunately, I did learn of an Evensong, and arrived in line early. This was the real thing. We were ushered into the heart of the church, where we were seated in the beautiful, carved seats of the choir stalls. Wave after wave of people quietly arrived and were seated, facing opposite each other in this intimate section of the cathedral. Soon the choir arrived. Evensong is an Episcopal (Church of England) service of song. As the choir arrived they filled in the seats around and below me. I was surrounded by a magnificent choir, and for the next hour was delighted to be a part of a spiritual celebration of song and prayer.
It was a spectacular service, deeply fulfilling, and a wonderful memory.