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We toured St.Paul's Cathedral and West Minster Abbey in London today. St.Paul's is the oldest Protestant (non-Catholic) cathedral (seat of a bishop) in existence and Westminster Abbey is a former medieval monastery and current Anglican church where everyone from Mary Queen of Scots and Sir Isaac Newton to Darwin and Chaucer are buried. Fascinating history: the marriage of church and state, the control of church by state, the state as bishop of the church. The Anglican church, by it's own tour's admission, was birthed by a King who wanted a church to rule, one that would not demand his obedience - especially when it came to abstaining from divorce. No wonder America links church and state so closely - it's the mess we came from.

And the link between worship of God and nation is everywhere in these holy places. America's military even has a place of tribute in St.Paul's. A stained glass window incorporating Jesus, angels, the cross and the insignias of the US branches of armed service and our flag - mingle, mingle, mingle. Bizarre.

But beautiful. Every inch of these buildings is beautiful beyond my vocabulary, even if dimmed and marred are times by centuries of age.

The highlight for me: I was caught off guard at Westminster today by the final "attraction." It's the only thing I really wanted to see on my last visit but didn't get to. The 20th Century martyrs.

Ten statues of Christian martyrs from around the world stand on the exit wall of the Abbey. Oscar Romero. Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Martin Luther King Jr. I started to cry for some unknown reason. It struck me unexpectedly. Inside the Abbey is a comprising blend of church and history museum, holy cathedral and tribute to warriors of the state and poets and scientists. Outside, stand the men and women who devoted themselves uncompromisingly to God above all.




Blogger Shaun Groves said...

I'm sick, btw, and would appreciate your prayers. Nothing terrible. Just a cold with a killer soar throat. It would be nice to be healthy by the time we reach Germany in three days so I can give my best performance there.

Everyone else is fine - Becky and Brian had this before I did but recovered by the time we left Ireland. Hoping for the same quick recovery.

Thanks to the folks who e-mailed asking how they could pray for us out here.

I think Becky wants a larger stomach so she can eat more of the good food out here. Not sure God grants that kind of prayer but it's worth a shot ; )


Blogger Cristy said...

My hubby swears by ginger tea for colds. Drink it warm and squirt some honey in for the sore throat. (Makes it taste better, too.)

Blogger Malia said...

If you can get Zicam across the pond, try it. It nips all my colds in the bud, should have you feeling good by the time you get to Germany.

Prayers for your illness!

Blogger GrovesFan said...

Great sites huh Shaun? Westminster was one of my favorites. Lord Baden Powell is buried there as well. He's the founder of Boy Scouts so it was nice to get photos of that site with my Boy Scout son. You could stay in London for a month and not see it all. There's just no history that old here at home so it's very unique to get to visit places like that.

Praying for quick healing (and elastic pants for Becky!).


Blogger supersimbo said...

shaun dude!! HOt whiskey is the way forward for the cold!! Though it may strip your throat to shreds!!
Westminster is such an awesome place.........beautiful

Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Sore throat's gone. Still pretty still and itchy but feeling much better.

Blogger Amy said...

Good food in England? I've always heard the opposite. Interesting.

I love how travel can change, move or inspire us. Especially in places with so much history. Visiting the site of the crucifixion of the 26 martyrs in nagasaki japan is one of my favorite experiences ever. I went alone on that trip and just spent a lot of time in that beautiful city at that spot where some of Japan's first Christians refused to give up the faith.


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