Today we had quite the church-hopping experience in Sydney.
We spent the morning at St. Mary’s Cathedral, which is a well-known Catholic church in the city. It is a landmark of Sydney and rightfully so. It was a beautiful mass, with an amazing boy’s choir and the sights, sounds, and yes even the smells (catholic churches have this amazing incense they use) will kind of be a standout memory of my time here. It was long and I was always confused of when to stand/sit/kneel and I don’t know any of their prayers and things by memory like the rest of the congregation and we couldn’t take communion and I spilled my coffee all over the pew but other than that, it was great. haha. Honestly, I think the Catholic church has some beautiful traditions and it was a great service. We also caught the end of the City to Surf marathon start. Every year there’s a big run from the cathedral to Bondi Beach (which is many many miles and a beautiful run past the sights of the city), and the announcer was hysterical. This is no surprise based on the Olympics announcers so far.
Speaking of the Olympics, after church we went into an electronics store for one of my friends to develop photos and watched the swimming competition for like an hour all crowded around the HD tv in the store. We even sat and made ourselves at home… they probably hated us in there haha. We then walked halfway across sydney (in the pouring rain and me in heels… will i ever learn?) and went to one of the most famous restaurants in Sydney, Pancakes on the Rocks. I don’t know how old it is but this place steamrolls iHop and it’s been there for ages. After the restaurant we walked around Circular Quay again, which is the harbor where the bridge and opera house are located. You couldn’t possibly get sick of the place. There was a lady doing a contortion act and we watched the whole street performance forever. She made a lot of sketchy jokes during the act but she fit herself into a teeny box and hey I can respect that. She’s called Bendy Em. Oh dear.
Tonight we went to Hillsong like we have been doing every Sunday night. It was an incredible service. We actually got there on time this week, imagine that, because public transportation is no longer my enemy, and had seats right up front. The band did Healer tonight and man was it powerful. I told my friends I “get saved all over again” when I hear that song haha. It is sooo good. And the message tonight was about intimacy with God and well the service was probably the best church service I’ve been to in my life. It involved critical thinking, it was passionate, it was entertaining, it was challenging. It was relevant. Seriously church is becoming the highlight of my week.
On the way back to Central Station God laid it on my heart to stop and talk to this lady who was begging for money. My friends told me not to stop because she’d take my wallet. I’m not that street smart and she probably could’ve but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. We talked for a bit and I asked if I could pray with her. She goes, “What do you want me to think about while you pray?” Like it was a foreign concept. I said it didn’t matter, I guessed she could think about God’s love. It kind of caught me off guard. She then asked me to pray for her dead dog named Bono. I thought it was kind of a funny request but then again with a name like Bono…sure. She was great.
I think people are far less scary and dangerous than we make them out to be. I walk past so many people and judge them as I pass. In service we talked about how we convince ourselves that the first time we walk past a beggar, our heart is tugged but we usually don’t stop. the 2nd time, it’s tugged a bit less. the 3rd time, we rationalize that if we gave them money they would probably use it on booze or drugs instead of food. 4th time, we’re thinking we’re doing them a favor by not stopping. It’s so true. I want to stop the cycle I’ve gotten into.