This morning we (and about 30 of the students) walked to St Aldates. St Aldates is a lovely Anglican church in downtown Oxford that focuses on “community, bible reading worship and prayer” (http://www.staldates.org.uk/). The service was wonderful, and I was touched be so many aspects of the service — the call to worship was a Seamus Heaney poem called “Had I not been awake” and the lesson was on Simeon and Anna reminding us to minister and listen to all generations. The girls really enjoyed their children’s church time. It was evident from our short time there that this congregation has a sweet spirit.
And I cried the whole time.
First of all, church is often a deeply emotional experience for me. Today, though, my first real wave of homesickness hit. I missed so many of my dear friends that I worship with and hug on and get to see every Sunday.
After a coke and a nap I felt much better. I skyped and chatted with several of my friends and my parents, which was so good.
Tonight, we participated in the 9@9 service required of all the students. In addition to a time of communion, the program directors, Ron and Janine, talked about Jacob’s stone after he sees the ladder, and we all chose a stone and wrote a word on it to remind us of God’s faithfulness.
Just over a week ago, when some of my dear friends prayed over me and our trip, my friend Lisa asked that this trip be about abundance for me. I’ve been carrying that word with me, and I do believe that God will show us abundance in may ways over the next months. So many times already I have been reminded of the abundance that I have at home with friendships that are beyond description, and it’s been so good to see the ways in which my cup already overflows. But I also believe God will reveal new abundances to our family this semester — in our little family, with the wonderful students we have, in the simpler lifestyle we get to have, in our travels, in a different church family, and in ways we have yet to dream of.