Where there is love

Over here in England and Europe the are some amazing ancient and modern buildings. Architectural designs that bring people from all over the world to see them and take their picture in front of them. As you leave those such buildings you are attacked by peddlers that have multiple ways for you to remember the place that you just visited, key chains, postcards, shot glasses, t-shirts, underwear, hats, scarfs, jewelry, and on and on it goes. Some of the most famous land marks across the world are places of worship and many of them you can still experience the services in the buildings. It is really quite amazing to be a part of. In London I had the chance to attenda service in one such building. St. Paul’s Cathedral is one the best known churches in the world because it was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and the church’s dome top inspired other famous dome topped buildings, notable the Capital building in Washington D.C. It is an amazing building inside and out and takes your breath away when you see it for the first time. The service was a traditional Anglican Church of England service. It was not the type of service that I am used to say the least. Very slow moving and impersonal, but none the less it was inside of this building that in it original intention was to bring glory to God. But when the service ended and I left the beautiful building I was not left with a sense of community, or a feeling that I could aprroach any of the people that I had just attended service with or any of the people that had lead the service. It kind of felt like I had just gone to a show of what church looks like, but when the show is over, those on stage were just that, on stage and unreachable for comment. Also during my time here in London I have had the chance to go to another church. I came across this church when one of the pastor was preaching in the market about Christ’s love for the world. I stopped and listened and said a little prayer for his boldness. As I turned and walked away he stopped talking for a moment and handed me a flyer with directions to the church and wished me well. The following Sunday I took the map I had been given and wandered my way through a small neighborhood in the middle of the city until I came to a back alley way. Down the alley a little way I say a sign for the church in the back window of a store. As I stepped inside I was not taken aback at the amazing architecture of the back store room and kitchen of the book store that the church meets in. I did not notice any highly expensive fixtures designed by famous interior designers. But what I did immediately notice were the welcoming smiles of the ten people that were there. Quickly I realized that the church had a membership of just over twenty people, children included. Then slightly later I was informed that the twenty people membership was actually the compelation of two local churches. My family’s small group at home is almost five times the size of these two churches combined! But there was something there that quickly caused me to look past the size and the surroundings, there was love. I was immediately greeted and welcomed with a cup of tea and a great conversation with the pastor’s wife. Independently, one by one each member came up and introduced themselves and told me a little bit about the church and their personal involvement. I have been going to this church each Sunday this summer and have become a novelty fixture in this small community. Everyone wants to know about Texas and what life is like there. Everyone thinks it is quite strange that I say yes ma’am and yes sir. Today I was asked to stand up in the middle of the sermon and tell about what my church back home is like. There was an audible gasp and then quite a bit of laughter when I told them that my home church has three services and a membership of 1200 families. But then the pastor made a great comment, one that I had been thinking about all summer, he said that it didn’t matter whether we were gathering together with five people of five hundred, in England or in Texas, but we were all gathering together in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and that transcends all circumstances and boundaries and makes us brothers and sisters in the Lord. Then he said an amazing prayer for my church back home and for their services this morning. These people have been such an encouragement to me and have taking me in on occassion a and feed me and given me selfless love that has spoken volumes to me. Going from the famous buildings and cathedrals of Europe to a back store room and kitchen of a bookstore, I’ll take the place that has love over the place that has visual appeal any day. Say a prayer for the Covent Garden Evangelical Church and their ministry in the heart of a community that is very post-Christian. Pastor Andrew and Derrick have been called to this battle field and they are true warriors, please lift them and their families up in your prayers today.