Saturday, January 29, 2011

oh Your love is a symphony

We had a seminar on marriage yesterday (kind of weird seeing slides and footnotes and statistics about a subject like that, as if it's something you can pin down to a formula) and they talked about the five love languages. Giving, physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, and acts of service. I was never sure which one was mine. Either words or time. But I think it's actually something more to do with talking/listening/someone trusting you enough to communicate with you on more than just a superficial level, and spend time doing it/you trusting them enough to do the same. Or something.

Whatever that's called.

If not that then I suspect my love language is sarcasm.

On Thursday I learned that Titus was written to a church in a place were pirate bands were common and Christianity was new. "So Paul could have been writing to converted pirates," Ari said, and "Pirate bands? Musical pirates?" said Gabby. I will never view the book of Titus the same way again.

Today my outreach team is going away for two days--kind of a preliminary weekend to see the place we'll be spending ten days at next month. It's a working-class church of 25 people near Leeds, my team has 11 people on it (twice as big as most), and we'll be doing kids work and school assemblies and stuff. Other than that, no idea what we're in for, and I have a sneaking feeling that that's the only reason I'm not freaking out. Isn't that a comfort. I don't know what we'll do this weekend or where I'll be sleeping tonight--will definitely be an adventure!

So. That's what happening. And my heart is full and God is AWESOME and more than all the stress about outreach and school and travel and What Am I Going to DO With My Life When I Go Home?, I am super incredibly happy right now.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Home again!

Made it back! I'm in the castle this time. YES. Have two lovely roommates, and our room is nice and close to everything, and not frigid, (and has internet)--I foresee a good term. :) I went into my old room today--other people, other names on the door, felt a bit odd.

Just finished watching some Doctor Who with Lucy and Megan. I liked DW before too but it's SO much more fun watching it with other people, and jumping and gasping and squealing and criticising collectively instead of crouched in my basement with headphones. Fans are few and far between in Canada :P

Ok, Zoe, here are a couple pictures, to reedem myself after the recent famine of uploads:

This is the Royal Albert Hall; in front of it (as in, behind my camera) it is the Albert Memorial; and in between is...a hockey game. Hahaha. Who would have thought? (Dark and blurry. Sorry. You'll just have to take my word for it, it was indeed a legit game of ball hockey.)

Here's a piece of our hostel. The outside was lovely, the actual room was fine, the in-between parts yeah...

The Eagle and the Child!

Tower of London. The second picture is the green where Lady Jane Grey (and others) were supposed to have been executed.

Inscription/carving by Lady Jane Grey's husband (on the right). So much interesting graffiti in those rooms, many of it by martyrs or other people who suffered for their faith (not him though), whether Protestant or Catholic. "The more suffering for Christ in this world, the more glory with Christ in the next."

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Do you hear the people sing?

Yesterday we went to see Les Miserables. (First time with a proper revolving stage, first time with proper English accents!) And it was perfection. I love this story. A lot. (Spoilers inevitable here. So is nonsensical-if-you’re-not-familiar-with-the-story rambling.)

I cried during Lovely Ladies. Not at any other part. Just Lovely Ladies. Which was odd; that’s either a crude and profane piece of the musical or an upbeat amusing one depending on how you look at it, and I always thought the former, but I never realised how incredibly SAD it is. Not just for Fantine, who has pretty much the worst life ever, but for all of the women there. It’s not trafficking or slavery per se, but it’s the next thing to it. It must have taken an incredible amount of desperation to end up in that place, and once there, there’s no hope of escape. Behind the cheerful facepaint and outlandish costumes and bouncy music, there’s nothing at all funny about that song.

Gavroche. Have to mention Gavroche. :P I had the hugest crush on him when I was twelve or so (and it seems like a younger kid plays him every time I see the show, what’s with that?). I took my fiction very, very seriously back then. :P Still one of my favourite characters...but I have a lot of favourite characters.

One of the best parts: Javert, Valjean, and Thenardier and their views of God. And their reactions to grace. So much food for thought there. Thenardier believes God is dead, Javert believes God is vengeful, Valjean believes God is merciful. Grace would be wasted on Thenardier, Javert’s world shatters and burns because of it, and Valjean not only accepts it but gives to others what he has been given.

Anyhow. Random observations. I could talk about this story forever so I’ll shut up about it now :P

I finally realised not very long ago—um yeah, don’t ask why it took me so long to figure out—that the primary way God speaks to me is through stories. Through the Bible's story, obviously, but more and more when I watch and read fiction, look at art, listen to music, He brings to light shards of truth in the corners I was least expecting it in. This is cool enough when the author was a Christian and intended it but even more so when it seems like a complete coincidence. It's like He’s pulling strings to make His message heard and to slip into people’s hearts when their guard is down, when they think they're just being entertained. There are“types” or imperfect symbols/examples of the Real Story hidden all over the Bible...and I think God enjoys seeing the same thing in our own works of art. Even though they will always be small and flawed compared to His.

So Perseus is Jesus. Aslan is Jesus, but Robin Hood has pieces of Him too and so do Jean Valjean, Maximus, Batman, Gandalf and Aragorn and Frodo, Doctor Who, dragon slayers and kings in disguise and those who give things up so others can keep them. His story is whispering when Harry sacrifices himself to Voldemort, when Atticus defends the innocent no matter what the cost, when Dym refuses to give up on an unworthy Tony, again and again and again.

They’re all shadows, echoes, copies. None are the real thing. But all of them point to Him. How exciting is that!

Anyhow. Just something I've been thinking about lately. Right now we're in Oxford--did a lot of walking and observing of beautiful buildings, saw the Eagle and the Child which was very cool; now sitting at Starbucks waiting for our train back to London because I foolishly booked it way too late. :P

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

"...but there's no place like London..."

After a few days, I like London, but goodbye to Kelsey’s days of romanticising it from afar. Up close it’s a grimy, often unfriendly, frequently ugly city. But it’s impossible to ever be bored—and so much has HAPPENED here, and that I love. So many stories, even if they’re hidden beneath a layer of litter and tacky souvenirs.

Met up with Christy tonight! [Er, four days ago now. Delay in posting blamed on my dodgy internet access, ok?] Human companionship is a wonderful thing, I have realised this (again) after two days alone :P Our hostel seems to be disintegrating daily but it was super cheap so I’m pretty happy with it. We’re in a 10-person room on the third floor (i.e. North American fourth floor)—and there’s no elevator, possibly God is preparing me for life in the Upper Tower next term. It’s also close to all things of importance: a. Tube station, b. Tesco, c. Starbucks. So. All set.

Yesterday we went to Westminster Abbey which was AMAZING. I don't really know what else to say about it except that it's ancient and gorgeous and magnificent. Favourite parts were the memorial to William Wilberforce, because he's one of my favourite people in history ever, and Poet's Corner--the section full of tombs of and memorials to Shakespeare, Carroll, the Brontes, a heap of others. And the grave of the unknown warrior. And the RAF chapel. And Elizabeth and Mary's tomb. And the fact that I got in for £6, instead of £15, because I'm 18 for another two weeks. Ok, there were a lot of favourites.

We also watched the Changing of the Guard (half of it, before we got too cold and decided that fifteen minutes of shouting and marching was enough) and saw the Imperial War Museum, which was evacuated right as we were about to leave for reasons which remain a mystery ("Due to unfortunate circumstances, we must ask that all visitors leave the building immediately by the nearest exit." repeat with siren sound effects x100). Unfortunate circumstances aside, the Imperial War Museum is one of my favourite places in London, I could happily spend days there.

So that's what's up... :) Going back to Capernwray on Saturday. I love it here and I love travelling but part of me can't wait to go back--the longer I'm away the more it feels like home.