I was walking down a narrow alley in London. It may have been a carriage passageway a century ago, but in today’s context no cars were going to pass through this narrow stone lined corridor between buildings hundreds of years old. Today the sun’s rays softly lit up the stone and the air was crisp and silent. To my right a small doorway caught my attention. Pushing the already ajar door open further, I found myself in a side entrance of a church.
Pausing from my walk, I step inside to a serene silence. I was the only one in the room. The warm atmosphere was an open invitation to take a break. As I accepted and slid into a worn pew, I found myself looking at another’s definition of church, tradition, and spiritual reminders. Stain glass windows, small statues, and plaques filled my vision in every direction. You could feel the presence of divinity.
I shut my eyes, remembering other times and places where I have felt this accepted. As my memories replayed different settings, I was surprised to find the collection included different faith settings as well as places a natural and manmade grandeur. From gothic cathedrals to Buddhist temple and even a Tower of Silence as a child, I recalled places where I felt the presence of Divinity. From quiet meadows to soaring views on the edge of mountains, I recalled how God was present. God’s places are many; each a reminder of an observation that “river fountains splash joy, cooling God’s city, this sacred haunt of the Most High.” (Psalm 46.4)
In the busyness and chaos of London, I did not expect to find this moment. Today if felt as if God had been waiting for me, patiently and quietly, hoping that I would experience all that Divinity keeps ready.
It was a wonderful treat. I close my eyes now and I am back in the soft stillness, a hideaway reserved to help us along the way. Stay alert. They will appear when least expected – islands of mercy, oasis of compassion.