In the summer I was a tad early for a scheduled meeting and wandered into the grounds of St Mary Magdalene church in East Ham to kill the time. The church doors were open and so I went in, intending to nose around. St Mary Magdalene is a Norman church which was originally built as a place of Christian worship in the 1100' s.
That's before the reformation, before Elizabeth I, before Columbus, before print, before the Renaissance, before the Hundred Year war, before Chaucer, before knitting, before Genghis Khan, before Marco Polo, before spectacles.
For over 800 years people have been worshipping in East Ham's parish church, St Mary Magdalene. Wow!
And in I stepped in August 2017 to find 2 women about to start morning prayers.
After their initial shock, they welcomed me in and I joined them. I even got to read the gospel passage for that day:
27 As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” 28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
The parishioners in East Ham hear the word of God in historical surroundings. Those walls have witnessed momentous changes over the years.
But throughout the years that word of God has remained consistent. It has rung true for every person who has heard it and voiced a heartfelt "Amen".
Last week my Amen joined the thousands that had preceded it.
Wherever you join with the Christian church on a Sunday to hear God's word and to worship, know that you are part of a Church that stretches back centuries and that will stretch on into eternity. Whether you are in a Norman church with centuries of heritage or in Ealing town hall, your God is the same yesterday, today and forever.
By Steve Page
Steve will be performing poetry at Artisan Live, Friday 24th Nov at Artisan Coffee, Ealing.