While visiting London this past summer, we had the chance to visit St. Paul’s Cathedral. There are TONS of beautiful churches around Europe, and this church may not be the flashiest of them all, but it is beautiful nonetheless. It was a must visit on our list though because Princess Diana’s marriage to Charles, the Prince of Wales happened here! Below is the story of my experience at St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the upcoming schedule of events so you can experience the beauty too.
It was Sunday, and that meant that the churches we wanted to visit were free! We left our hotel and took the Tube to the stop nearest to St. Paul’s Cathedral. We walked up the great staircase that lead to the entrance, and as we opened the doors to enter, you could hear the organ music spilling out onto the street.
I was a music major in college and so the sound made my skin tingle and my heart skip a beat. While still taking classes, I had the chance to go to a local church in Minneapolis and play a pipe organ. It was an extremely moving experience. If you have ever been in a church that has a full pipe organ, you know that you not only hear it, but you quite literally feel it.
Everything about St. Paul’s Cathedral exuded majesty. From the high domes covered in colorful mosaic tiles depicting stories, to the candles lining the walkways, to the beautiful stained glass; you can’t help but “feel” when you enter it. Clearly, they created it to honor God. As we walked further into the stone cathedral and took a seat to listen, the sounds of the organ reverberated off of all of the stone surfaces, and what I felt was complete and total awe and reverence. The kind that makes you want to fall to your knees and worship.
I’m obviously a Christian, but I come from a very charismatic background. I didn’t grow up attending traditional mass, and the church I went to looked nothing like this. I didn’t expect to be moved in a church that truthfully I thought was stuck in religion (as opposed to relationship), and boy was I wrong. As we sat listening to the pipe organ filling the room (one that was created to honor the one and only God), I quietly cried. Thankfully nobody around me noticed it, but right there in that moment with the organ booming, and the sights of the room filling me, I experienced The Lord. He was in the organ music, He was in the design of the cathedral, and He was in the very air I was breathing.
After the recital ended, they started preparing for their next service, and the last thing that caught my eye was the burning incense. It was in a pot type device. Someone went over and lit it, and as the service drew nearer, the incense rose higher and higher into the cathedral filling the room with a slight haze. Scriptures started filling my head – Psalm 141:2 “May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice”, Isaiah 6:1 “I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple”, and Revelation 8:4 “The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand.” As the scriptures swirled in my head, and I watched the incense do the same, reaching ever higher into the domes of the cathedral, I worshipped. After we left, I could hardly speak. Now, I talk a lot…. just ask my husband, and so you know I am moved deeply when I don’t have any words. It took me a good half hour after we left to be able to act like a normal person again. THAT is an experience worth sharing about. So now as I try and convey the beauty of the moment, I’m just thankful it happened. There is no way that I can get you to feel exactly what I feel, though try as I may, so you need to visit yourself and hopefully experience something similar.
St. Paul’s Cathedral Calendar of events:
Attend Eucharist service for free
Suggested upcoming free events:
Easter Passion Choir Concert – March 16th at 6:30pm
Sunday Organ Recitals
|Sunday 6 March 2016|
|Peter Holder & Rachel Mahon | St Paul’s Cathedral|
|Sunday 13 March 2016|
|Rachel Mahon | St Paul’s Cathedral|
|Sunday 20 March 2016 Palm Sunday|
|Peter Holder | St Paul’s Cathedral|
|Sunday 27 March 2016 Easter Day|
|Rachel Mahon | St Paul’s Cathedral|
|Sunday 3 April 2016|
|Oliver Hancock | Portsmouth Cathedral|
|Sunday 10 April 2016|
|James Norrey | Rochester Cathedral|
|Sunday 17 April 2016|
|Norman Harper | St George’s Cathedral, Southwark|