On the Tombs in Westminster Abbey
Mortality, behold and fear
What a change of flesh is here!
Think how many royal bones
Sleep within these heaps of stones;
Here they lie, had realms and lands,
Who now want strength to stir their hands,
Where from their pulpits seal'd with dust
They preach, 'In greatness is no trust.'
Here's an acre sown indeed
With the richest royallest seed
That the earth did e'er suck in
Since the first man died for sin:
Here the bones of birth have cried
'Though God's they were, as men they died!'
Here are sands, ignoble things,
Dropped from the ruin'd sides of kings:
Here's a world of pomp and state
Buried in dust, once dead by fate.
Westminster Abbey was by far what I was looking forward to most, and it did not disappoint. I walked through in a awed daze, trying to convince myself that I was actually there. First of all it is incredible to just be in such an old and astoundingly breathtaking cathedral, but the fact that this is where British monarchs since 1066 have been crowned, and that important historical figures and monarchs lie buried here makes it simply, well, amazing, for lack of a big fancy word that would accurately describe my awe.
Elizabeth 1 and her sister, "Bloody Mary", share a tomb with the inscription, 'Partners both in throne and grave, here rest we two sisters, Elizabeth and Mary, in the hope of one Resurrection.' Other greats resting here include Handel, David Livingstone, Dickens, Sir Isaac Newton, and Darwin; though why he should be given such an honour in a place of worship to the One He rejected as Creator is beyond me.
The Abbey is intolerably beautiful. I can't believe it.
One thing that I found very cool is that every hour they have a moment of silence where a prayer is broadcasted over the speakers throughout the Abbey. I found it much more God-focused than a lot of other cathedrals I've been to.
We also went to Evensong in the evening, which was again, beautiful. The choir singing the Psalms and other Scripture set to music resounding through the magnificent structure is quite breathtaking. And yet, even the splendor, exquisite beauty and magnificence of the praises ringing through Westminster Abbey cannot compare with what our King of kings deserves. This makes it even more incredible that all He asks for is for is our hearts and lives.
O gracious and holy Father,
Give us wisdom to perceive You,
Diligence to seek You,
Patience to wait for You,
Eyes to behold You,
A heart to meditate upon You,
And a life to proclaim You,
Through the power of the
Spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord.
-attributed to St. Benedict c480-c547
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