Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Spiritual Museums?

September 6, 2009 · No Comments

So arriving in London two weeks ago I have dove into a world of museums, churches, and recognizable landmarks (some of these locations encompassing all three of these aspects; ie. Westminster Abbey/St Paul’s ). As I read my other classmates blogs about these locations I was less than inspired though to throw my two-sense into the conversation.  However after visiting the Sikh gurdwara I realized that discussing the architecture or the history of these churches was not what I was interested in.  Rather, my focus was on the spirituality and religious nature of these locations (or lack there of as the case may be).

I’d be crazy not to acknowledge Westmnister Abbey’s incredible architecture– the dedication to style as additions were made to the building, the multitude of famous persons from his or her particular field buried in the ground of the building.  I had the same reeling of awe walking around St. Paul’s Cathedral.  The detailed stained glass windows, the enormous dome, the ceremonial burial sites all over the building—they are images I will remember forever.  However, as I left both of those places I felt more like I was leaving a museum than a church.

Because of this feeling I decided to stay at St. Paul’s for evening song.  It was a beautiful service, but I continuously found myself distracted by the other tourists walking up and down the church looking at all of the graves.  I hoped that I would find myself in a state of spiritual prayer, but only found myself frustrated.  I had a similar reaction when I sat in on Holy Communion at Bath Abbey.  Sitting in another beautiful church, trying to take in and appreciate the holiest of sacraments and all I could focus on was the people going in and out of the attached gift shop.

While also in Bath I decided to wander down random alleys exploring the city.  It was here where I ran into St. John the Evangelist, a Roman Catholic Church.  Being the first Catholic church I had seen since arriving I decided to go in.  Assuming to find myself surrounded by graves and gift shops yet again, I was in disbelief to find myself in one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen. No gimmicks. No crowds. Beautiful architecture. Amazing stained glass. And peace. I couldn’t even tell you how long I just sat there, engulfed in the church’s beauty and feeling of spirituality.

When I attended St. Patrick’s in SOHO for a service I hoped I would feel the same sense of peace I did in Bath, but was slightly disappointed not to.  I’m not sure why, but I’m hoping as I continue to investigate churches in both London and Norwich I will find a common thread in why I find some churches and temples more spiritual than others.

**I wrote this last night, and I thought it had posted. And now after visiting the Hindu temple I have even more thoughts on this subject, but will expand later. **

Categories: Amanda · Churches and Cathedrals
Tagged: ,

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below..

You must log in to post a comment.