How to See an Old Church

Yesterday I wrote about the Ascension being the climatic moment of the gospels, the enthronement of Jesus as "Lord of all."

Last week Jana and I got to take in an Ascension service with our dear friend Hannah. We're in the UK right now, doing some speaking, and found ourselves close to Sherborne Abbey on the Feast of the Ascension.  (Celebrated last Thursday by the Church of England. Catholics celebrated it on Sunday, the last Sunday before Pentecost.)

I love visiting old churches as a tourist. But nothing compares to visiting old churches as a participant in a worship service. Beyond the religious aspect, there's the simple point that during worship services they actually turn the lights on. The ceiling of the Sherborn Abbey when illuminated, pictured here, was stunning.

Two years ago when Jana and I were in Bath, I popped into the abbey. They were chasing out all the tourists for their evening prayer service. Which I was more than delighted to attend. I came back the next day to visit the abbey as a tourist, but that evening prayer service was my high point in Bath. Similarly, the Ascension service in Sherborne Abbey was delightful. And as Hannah had hoped, they even had a choir!

All that to say, if you want to visit an old church, show up for a worship service.

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