Finding Reassurance From the Faith of Others

Editor’s Note:  Please enjoy today’s guest blog post by my talented, dear friend Rachel Britton.  May this message inspire all of us, especially parents. rachel-britton-square-web-1950

A mamma is allowed to be a little apprehensive leaving her child at college in a different country, isn’t she? That’s how I felt a week or so ago when I boarded a plane back to America.

My son and I had arrived in London a few days earlier for international student enrollment. It felt a bit like cheating. After all, I am British and my husband is, too. My son, however, was born and raised in the States. He knows more about ordering Starbucks than how to make a cup of tea.

I waited in the Quad as my son stood in line to enroll. We had entered the central area of the college through an archway from the street, its large iron gates thrown wide open. Green lawns ran either side of a large paved area.

I sat on one of the benches bordering the grass. Other parents milled around me, speaking in Spanish, French, and Mandarin. Many stopped to take a photograph of their student with the main building in the background. Built in the 1800s, the white neo-Grecian structure with tall columns and a dome at the top dominated the Quad. Long vertical flags hung between the columns with the words: Welcome to University College London.

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The building reminded me of a church. Finding a church was one activity I hoped to help my son complete.

Then I noticed a cart with a sign: Free tea and coffee from the Christian Union.

Enrollment was taking some time. The CU students were packing up their cart. Although I hesitated to get involved, I couldn’t let this opportunity go by.

“I got this for you,” I said, as I handed a card saying Welcome to the CU to my son. “I hope you don’t mind,” I added. “No, that’s great,” he replied.

I spoke to Max by phone the other night. He bubbled with excitement about his new CU friends; they’d hung out all week. Many of his CU friends go to St. Helen’s Church.

“We went to St. Helen’s yesterday,” he said. “Church!” I thought, “In the middle of the week?”

St. Helen’s stands in the center of the City, the financial district of London. It’s twelfth century tower dwarfed by modern skyscrapers with unusual shapes and names, like the Gherkin. It is the largest surviving parish church in the city of London, and sometimes called Westminster Abbey of the City. William Shakespeare lived within its shadow.

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St. Helen’s has stood strong since 1210. It survived the great fire of London in 1666, and the blitz of WWII. It has been restored following damage caused by two IRA bombs that exploded nearby in 1992 and 1993. Yet, St. Helens represents more than a beautiful, solid medieval structure; it is home to a living Christian community.

The people who worship at St Helen’s today are probably far more diverse than those of the thirteenth century, yet no more significant. Men and women who do finance in the City, international workers and students who come for employment and study in London attend St. Helen’s.

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My son joins people who throughout the centuries have worshiped God in this place. These are believers who have passed on the baton of faith to people who worship there today. They stand on the shoulders of the saints who have gone before them.

Knowing this history reassures a mamma three thousand miles away from her child.

Rachel is a British-born writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping women know their true worth so they can live boldly. Raised on the east coast of England, she now lives in New England with her husband and three children. Rachel cannot live without English tea and chocolate. Connect with Rachel at rachelbritton.com, on Facebook and Twitter @racheljbritton and Instagram @rachelj.britton

Reflect:

Do you think about the history of your own church building? The people who have worshiped there in the past? Please comment.

Have you considered who will worship at your church in the future? How will you pass on the baton of faith? Please comment.

Have you left your child at college this year? How did you feel? Please comment.

Renew:

So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. 2 Thessalonians 2:15 (NIV)

I find it necessary to write and appeal to you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. Jude 1:3 (NRSV)

Recharge:

We rejoice to use this glorious place to bear witness to Jesus Christ in the City of London. —http://www.st-helens.org.uk/

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  1. Thank you Rachel for reminding us that even though our children might be away from us; they can always be in the presence of God. May your son’s spiritual relationship with God be strengthened while he embarks on this new season of life.
    @justdotoday

  2. Thank you Elizabeth. And it’s good to know God cares for our children much more than we do.

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