Nyack College in Literary London

There’s that moment when the wheels of the plane suddenly lift from the runway, you’re a thousand miles in the air, and you’re on your way to London. It all feels like some crazy, amazing dream.

Can I say surreal?

A couple weeks ago, I had the crazy blessing of going on a Global Service Learning trip to London for about eleven days. During those days we explored London with our seasoned tour guide, Dr. Gates, and a group of eight Nyack students. I could write a couple novels about our trip….but here are some moments that spoke to me. These were moments of learning, of beauty, of realization, and of continually asking ourselves, “Is this really class?”

The first moment that comes to mind is Evensong at St. Paul’s. Hundreds of people stood in line to get into this ancient cathedral to participate in this service. St. Paul’s has been wrapped up in the history of London for centuries. Royalty have been married at St. Paul’s, and miraculously the cathedral survived the Blitz during World War II. We were there for Evensong, the mid-afternoon choral service. The choir entered in a procession, sacred, solemn, walking to their allotted seats.  They began to lift their voices, singing Scripture, worshiping, dwelling in the Holiness. I’ll never forget the choir singing Psalm 46. The beauty of the Cathedral, mixed with the beauty of the voices, creating an experience of worship akin to none I’d seen.

Another “is this really class moment” happened in Oxford. We took a day trip to Oxford to explore the University and the great names associated with it. We ate at the pub C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, and Williams frequented to discuss their writings, and during the tour of Oxford we saw the lamp post which inspired Lewis to write Narnia. All three of those writers have influenced my life in distinct ways, and seeing their old haunts and places of inspiration, gave everything I’d learned from their writings a greater meaning.

The last moment I’m going to share with you was our tour of the Globe Theatre where Shakespeare’s plays were performed. I had just finished teaching Shakespeare for two months during student teaching. Now I got to see where those plays were performed. Could it get any better than this? I took so, so many pictures–when I teach Shakespeare again I want to show my students travel pictures instead of Google Images, and give them details about how 3,000 people who rarely bathed crammed themselves into this theatre to watch Shakespeare.  

Seriously, you need to go on a GSL Trip, even if you need to work a couple extra shifts during summer break to pay for it. It’s a thousand percent worth it.