Saturday, November 06, 2004

London Day 4 - Cambridge and Charismatics

Cambridge - This day involved a train ride to the more pastoral of the U.K.'s two favorite Universities (they call Oxford the other place). Now I see what every college town in the U.S.A. is grasping towards. I felt like Harry in Hogwarts (there was even a full moon). Princeton is quite a town, but going from Princeton to Cambridge is like going from the shadows of Plato's cave to the forms themselves (no offence, Princeton).

More DAY 4 - And I can't believe I'm going to put it this way, but yes, in Kings College Chapel the fan vaulting is to die for. And in a way, the choir that sung evensong in Kings College Chapel was what every chuch choir is grasping towards. Not only was the singing superb, but the Scripture reading and short meditations were flawlessly delivered (usually one expects one or the other to be good, not both). The theme for the evening was "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet," and the lector simply commented towards the close of the service,
"The Scriptures say the God's word is a lamp unto our feet, not necessarily a blazing light showing the whole way forward."
A good word to anyone coming up to a crossroads in life.

And finally, the pub's in Cambridge seem to be what every bar/pub I've ever been to is grasping towards. Good to know someone is pulling it off. "The Eagle," where we ate, is the birthplace of the concept of D.N.A. (or at least of its human comprehension). Ahh... Platonic Cambrige - all else is but a shadow. Now I see what these guys were getting at.

Charismatics - But before this day began, I enjoyed an interesting early morning prayer meeting at one of London's most thriving churches which I've mentioned already, Holy Trinity Brompton. Imagine a 7am prayer service packed out with over 100 people from all walks of London life (and of all ages) and eager to worship (well led contemporary stuff) and fervently praying for any and every international situation you can pull off the headlines. The reason I say "Charismatic" is because the Church certainly has some "Vineyardian" elements (by which I mean the use of "spiritual gifts"), but in good Vineyard fashion, they keep it all within decent parameter.

It's nice especially when an Anglican Church takes advantage of the dynamism of the Pentecostal movement mentioned below, because Anglicans have the classic structures within which to contain such vitality. But one thing was unfortunate. The communion area was filled with Audio-Visual equipment, and from what I understand the regular communion service they have on Sunday is sparsely attended. In my experience, all that is sought in the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements - which (one hopes) is the presence of God, is normatively available in the bread and wine. But that being said, H.T.B. is still quite a Church.