August 08, 2011

of heaven

Heaven is a place, also a state,
It doth all things excel,
No man can fully it relate,
Nor of its glory tell.

Most Sundays I don't get out of bed till 11. There's no point. This Sunday though was different. I got up early, walked into town and took the bus to St James Church, Bushey.

God made it for his residence,
To sit on as a throne,
Which shows to us the excellence
Whereby it may be known.

Doubtless the fabric that was built
For this so great a king,
Must needs surprise thee, if thou wilt
But duly mind the thing.

It felt like the right thing to do given the happenings of the weekend. I won't blog about that yet but I will one day.

It is the high and holy place;
No moth can there annoy,
Nor make to fade that goodly grace
That saints shall there enjoy.

Adorn'd with grace and righteousness,
While fragrant scents of love
O'erflow with everlasting bliss,
All that do dwell above.

The heavenly majesty, whose face
Doth far exceed the sun,
Will there cast forth its rays of grace
After this world is done.

The rituals all felt so natural. There was something gentle and soothing to it all. The priest, whom, I hate to say it, I don't know his name, was lovely. He was funny and friendly and made me feel welcome. When I first got there, I didn't even realise he was the priest.

Another gent, who may or may not have been a warden, gave a booklet to me about the history of the church and it dates back to the 13th century. So much history on the one spot but again, deserving of its own post.

The gospel for the day was Matthew 14.22-33. I've always liked this story. I remember doing a study on it with Jenny, or perhaps it was Father Craig. I don't suppose it matters.

After the service I took a short wander through the cemetery and found some interesting names.

All this will sparkle in our eye
Within the holy place,
And greatly raise our melody,
And flow our hearts with grace.

The largest thought that can arise
Within the widest heart
Shall then be filled with surprize,
And pleas'd in every part.

All mysteries shall here be seen,
And every knot, unty'd;
Electing love, that hid hath been,
Shall shine on every side.

One of the trees I had to duck under had little acorns growing on it. I had never come across this but acorns are supposed to mean rebirth or something similar in the Christian faith I think.

What gladness will possess our heart
When we shall see these things!
What light and life, in every part,
Will rise like lasting springs!

No sorrow can them now annoy,
Nor weakness, grief or pain;
No faintness can abate their joy,
They now in life do reign.

And this little headstone, half hidden under another tree...

And that with everlasting peace,
Joy, and felicity,
From this time forth they shall increase
Unto eternity.

(Verses from John Bunyan's poem "Of Heaven"")

Also thanks to Angie who came with me and isn't in any way religious.

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