Thursday, September 18, 2014

England, Day Three B: St Paul's Cathedral!

There can be nothing more beautiful, more spectacular than the sound of a boy's choir in a great and echoing dome. Especially the dome of St Paul's Cathedral. Perhaps the first time I ever saw it from the outside was in the 60's while experiencing Mary Poppins for the first time - it was unforgettable. Seeing that dome as an adult, outside and in, adds dimension and meaning I had no clue about as a child. But even then, I knew there was something awe-inspiring about that place.

At 4:45pm yesterday I walked inside the great cathedral, and ventured forward toward the dome. Chairs were set up in circular rows just beneath it, and I was gently ushered to a seat at the front in full view of where the boys choir would sing. More worshippers filed in, quietly. No one would ever dream of arriving in a rush, or be talking, or (heaven forbid) laughing out loud. It isn't like that, there. 

Another thing no one would ever dream of doing is take a photo of the order of service card we were handed. I was about to draw my phone out to click a quick one, when I read at the top (in red) 'The use of cameras or mobile phones is prohibited in the Cathedral'. I dropped the phone back in, and was all the better for it.

Soon there was a rustling sound at the side, and from the door a long line of choir boys came walking around the dome, 2 by 2. My hand was itching to delve once again into the purse, for my phone. What an opportunity, lost! But again I was obedient, remembering 
that this was not going to be about photo ops. 

St Paul's Cathedral 2013

The men's choir followed, and then the officiating minister clustered about by other robed figures. There followed a pause, after which everyone forgot about cameras or phones or last night's dinner. For the boys began to sing. The purity of their tones surrounded us in 
sheer echo, the words of praise seeming angelic although sung by mortals. Suddenly we there were not mere observers, but participants. Worshippers. Together in one accord.

It was Evensong, therefore much of the service was sung. The congregation was prompted to stand at certain points, during which a song or a reading might be given. I am sorry to report that at one point, overcome with jet lag, the SconeLady fell asleep and did not stand for one of the songs! How awful! I will say nothing more about THAT, except that I dearly hope it wasn't too distracting (being in the front row, and all..).

I have mentioned before that St Paul's is more than just another pretty building. I hope you will be able to visit there, one day. I hope you see that in this busy mid-London, one can find Sanctuary from all imperfections; rest for all weary souls. Jesus, the Crucified and Risen.

It's all there.

See you along the Way!
the SconeLady

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