Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Death and Resurrection-London Part 1

Disclaimer: This will be a long post...stick with me here people.

"this joyful Eastertide,
away with sin and sorrow.
My love, the crucified,
Hath sprung to life this 'morrow"

My mother asked me before I left if I would be sad to not celebrate Easter with my family in the US. My response? I will still be celebrating, Jesus did die for the whole world not just America.
To give my mother some credit, Easter Sunday was always pretty magical at the Theis house. We dyed eggs, the Easter Bunny would come and leave baskets of candy and a little gift, and Easter Sunday meal after a great church service was always the hightight. Oh that meal...my mouth waters just thinking about it. Ham, Mac and Cheese, Baked Pineapple, Deviled Eggs, Yeast Rolls... I mean really...Momma Theis is the bestest.

So what was it like to spend my first 3 days in London over the weekend in which we celebrate the death and resurection of out Lord?

Well I arrived in London on Good Friday morning. Having left my bags at the hotel, I proceded to wander around London in the beautiful early hours of a still sleeping town. Friday was a bank holiday, one of the 4 that the wedding helped bestow on the UK. Most of the locals were taking the time to go on vacation and get out of dodge while the rest of the world was about to descend upon them in droves.

The weather was an un-seasonably warm April, with highs in the 70s and blue skies in the forecast. I spent some time in St. James' Park watching the runners go by and the beginnings of the tourist arrive at the Churchill War Rooms and the Household Calvary Museum.

After sometime reading, journaling and eating a little brunch I headed to Royal Albert Hall. Every Good Friday the Royal Choral Society and the Royal Philharmonic put on Handel's Messiah. It was beautiful! I mean first off you have Royal Albert Hall which is amazing in itself, opened in 1871 by Queen Victoria in honor of her late husband, Prince Albert. Secondly, the choir and symphony did an awesome job. I had some definite goose bumps the whole time.

After the performance was over I headed to my favorite pub, The Thomas Cubitt for a little dinner and some fish and chips!!! It was a great start to an awesome week.

On Saturday I headed out of the city center to North London. The Camden Lock market is one of the more popular street markets in London and a great place to find some good treasures. I was able get some fun jewelry and 2 new albums to add to the Vinyl collection. (Beatles "Rubber Soul" and U2 "Joshua Tree" in case you were wondering).

After my morning exploring all the vendors the market had to offer, I grabbed a quick bite to eat and hiked up to Hampstead Heath, one of London's largest parks. I picniced in the park, journaled, read and took in the view from Parliament Hill. You can see the whole city and it was such a gorgeous day that you could see the skyline perfectly.

After some rest time I continued on through Belsize Park to St. John's Wood and Abbey Road. Can I just say I LOVE Belsize Park. I kept thinking if (or when) I live in London this is where I would be. Its like a little village within this massive city. Its awesome and quiet and a perfect area for families.

Once I got to Abbey Road I paid my respects at Abbey Road Studios (like all good Beatles' fans do), and just happened to walk by Paul McCartney's House (which is literally the street over). By the time my Saturday adventure was over I was beat, and my feet were screaming so I took the remainder of the evening to rest and get ready for Sunday.

Easter morning I ventured out to Hillsong London. First let me start off by saying...the church shares the Dominion Theater with the Queen musical "We Will Rock You", which is a little bizarre going into church and seeing Freddie Mercury posters, but whatever. Second, Worship was amazing as expected even if a little bit too concerty. Thirdly, there was not a normal sermon like usual, but little mini sermons intermixed with songs, videos and skits. It was not what I expected and seemed like a service meant for non believers more than people like myself who were already pretty established in their faith.

After Church I made my way to St. Paul's. I knew they had an afternoon service and I also knew that the restaurant in the basement of the church had a really good Sunday Roast. I was not disappointed by the food at all. It was awesome. I had Lamb with Yorkshire pudding and Veggies. It was delicious.

After lunch, I attended the service. Can I say that I had so much more of an emotional reaction to St. Paul's than I did Hillsong? I think it was the reverence coupled with the grandeur of the cathedral and the beautiful singing of the choir. I mean really....tears in my eyes the whole service. It was beautiful.

Once out of church I realized how close I was to Tate Modern and decided I had some time to hang out there for a while. I spent 2 hours walking around and enjoying all the beautiful (and very weird) artwork on display before heading back to the hotel for the evening.

It wasn't a normal Easter, but it still did not dissapoint. Would I have liked to have my family with me? Absolutely, but I think it was a great start to a week where I really had a lot of time to spend with the Lord.

Ok sorry for such a long post...the next won't be as long I promise. (fingers crossed)


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