02 August 2011

three weeks of chapel

It is three weeks of being in Amsterdam, and I think I've attended chapel about a dozen times already. The first week was somewhat sparse: the immediate needs of unpacking, settling and adjusting often eclipsed my desire for going to chapel. And it is taking some time for chapel to become a 'normal' part of the day (although breakfast at 7 and dinner cooked by around 6.30 means I can work a bit before chapel in the morning and in the evening, we can eat (and even do dishes, if we're quick!) before chapel again).

But it has been good to be back attending chapel: good to stop and quiet myself and remember that my day and my time are from God. And good to sing and praise God. It has been a good help for adjusting to life here and back in the community.

And there's nothing quite like leading chapel three times a week to help make you feel like you're in the middle of the community! Last week and this week, there haven't been enough people signed up to lead - and so I've arrived at chapel and gotten to be the one to take the initiative in ringing the bell and calling the others to join me (there's always been at least 4 people, which has been good). As I've only just come back to living in the community and going regularly to chapel, trying to think of what to say/do/sing each time was a bit of a challenge (much thanks to Coby who's also been willing to take on the challenge of leading chapel with little notice!). The result has meant that I've decided to take some more initiative to find more people willing to plan to lead chapel - as I believe that it's good for a chapel to be planned well. And yet, landing in the middle of chapel planning and praying aloud with others and trying to help others worship God - as much as that has been a challenge, it has also been a blessing - both for making me feel at home (and needed) and for my remembering how good it is to pray with others.

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