I was not able to take in the magnitude of what stood before me. After a long journey across the English Channel from Calais to Dover, I was overloaded as I viewed the pastoral countryside; thrilled and excited to finally be in England. So, when suddenly before me stood Canterbury Cathedral, I simply followed the line of tourist not giving much thought to my location.
Step, step, step, I walked up to the ancient structure from the south west transept.
Step, step, step, I walked over the spot where so many people before me stood in awe as their thoughts transcended the divine.
Step, step, step, I walked through the wrought iron gates and entered the sacred.
It was at this point it dawned on me that I was where I needed to be at that moment in time.
Strange thought, isn’t it? To be far away from home, in a foreign land, and find I was right where I needed to be.
The air was cool and dim, perfect transition on a warm summer day. The nave was quiet and peaceful, scattered with a few other pilgrims, and some of the church members (yes, real church members doing work in this ancient place.) There was some music playing as the church prepared for a special worship service honoring the Queen’s Birthday. I could not completely enter the nave since it was being prepared; instead, I was drawn down to the crypt beneath the church where another sacred space awaited.
I headed for the stairs with respect and veneration as I gingerly crossed over the tombs in the floor of those long passed. Eventually I came to the stairs descending into the cavernous vault. There were very few electrical lights; instead, the vault was lit by candles. Dozens and dozens of flames aglow provided warmth and light in the damp, cool room. Awe swept over me. Reverence grasped my thoughts and my spirit. The long journey I had been on came to this point. I did not understanding that I was supposed to be here in this place but now I knew it.
Safe and secure I felt the passing of ages in this room, as millions of faithful Christians have entered and lifted up their prayers to the Almighty. Moved by an unseen force, I walked towards the wrought iron candle holder in the center. Here I took a previous burnt match stick and stuck it into the flame of a candle. I let it burn for a moment watching as the flame grew and took hold. This flame in my hand, who knows how long it had been burning, was now being transferred to another candle and with it another prayer to God.
I needed to do this it is why I was here in this holy place, to light this one candle.
Perhaps this is a strange story to some; however, there set apart from the distractive world I was in tune with what I believe was the Spirit of God calling me. It was a call to stop and pray; to think about God; to give thanks and worship; to praise the Almighty for all those I love in my life. You too are being called by God. The Spirit works in all of us even when we are overwhelmed with life. Be one who allows God’s Holy Spirit to guide you, and sometimes you will be surprised where the Spirit leads.