Today was a really interesting day. I got up and was planning on going to Chinatown to see the new years celebration. This despite the fact that it was a fast Sunday and so I would not be able to eat anything I saw at all. On the way on the tube, as I took the central line I spontaneously decided to get off at the St. Paul stop and to go to a service in the cathedral. The massive building is of course visually impressive, even more so on the inside, but the feeling I got inside can hardly be described.
I was utterly drained of my spiritual energy. I could feel that my heavenly father was so far away from me as I sat in on the service. I took communion ( I ended up having a tiny sip of the communion wine before I realized it was wine—I am so used to sacrament water which was a further shame as a minor violation of the word of wisdom—I think will survive) and it just felt like a hollow vessel taking away from my faith and devotion. The hymns were almost unbearable to listen to. I’d been to protestant services before that were not this excruciating. It seems, that only Catholic and Anglican (And by extension likely Greek or Russian orthodox though that deserves some investigation) manage to so thoroughly distort the feeling of church. I left feeling utterly sick to my stomach and as I went outside I had to struggle to reconnect to the lord by listening to some Mormon tabernacle devotional music. That only managed to stabalize me and I decided, having a lot of time before church, that I should keep walking down the Strand. On the way, out of curiosity, I stopped at every open church (about 4 or 5) all of which happened to be Anglican as well just to get a feeling of the vibe inside. None of them were quite as bad as at St. Pauls but none of them made me feel any level of spiritual devotion or connection. One had intense incense which brought back joyful memories of china, but that was not a replacement for the lack of feeling. I ended up walking all the way through Chinatown and through Green Park all the way to where my church is ( A walk of about 4 miles) and got there only right before services started. Today being a fast Sunday, by the time I got to church I was truly exhausted and drained. Yet, as soon as I walked near the church and stepped inside I was filled with so much solace. It was such a true and total relief. The hymns were so much better than usual even. I usually sort of tune them out somewhat, but today they filled me with so much joy
Today was a testimony sacrament and I got to bare a testimony that has been building within me for the past two weeks and was a combination of today’s experience and the temple visit. I spoke about what I had experienced and just how much this church means to me. It gives me so much strength and the knowledge that it is true is overpowering at times. I have never felt such spiritual joy in any other place on earth. I’ve been to holy sites across the world from every major faith and never felt the calm and elegant beauty of the temple. I imagine myself fortunate enough to experience similar things to what they ancient Israelites experienced at the Holy Temple. I am so fortunate for this opportunity to be in a church that feels so true and right and fulfills all of my spiritual needs.
I made a really great decision today that I think will bless me spiritually. I had originally bought tickets to a concert in the evening that I was going to attend even though I knew it was not a very edifying show ( one of the bands names is Hate Eternal). I stopped for Chinese food and decided that going to a concert would be a big mistake. I came back to my dorm and have been relaxing and watching the snow fights outside my window with great bemusement. I also saw the rest of Waltz With Bashir which is incredible and I really recommend that anyone with even a modicum of interest in the First Lebanese War, Human rights, Israel or the conflict watch it. Catching up with blogging and relaxing has been a much better use of my time than a concert that I know I would have in some ways suffered through.