As a Methodist, a visit to Bristol had to include a visit to the first Methodist Chapel - which has been known as the New Rooms for several hundred years! It inspired a poem...
OLD WOOD IN THE NEW ROOM
Plain, well used, old wood.
Warm in the sunlight flowing down from the lantern window.
Shining on the patina
Of honourable usage over three hundred years.
Of tables eaten at,
Benches sat upon,
Pulpit preached from,
And although wood cannot truly
- cannot, surely! -
absorb prayer, or worship,
or the heart searching of those who quest for God and holy living,
Yet the knowledge of those who once sat there,
Who once prayed there,
Who once ate there,
And who sang and laughed and wept there…
That knowledge adds an extra lustre to the old wood,
As if it, too, has become holy.
Set apart for sacred use,
It has taken into itself the prayers and praise and love and adoration
From three hundred years of seeking God.
Quiet and at peace in the sunlight,
Whilst outside the world is as busy and frenetic as ever it was,
And people still bustle about on business of their own.
Where once the merchant ship’s furled their sails,
And business men haggled over the price of goods and people,
Now the tourist boats cruise by,
With their cargo’s snapping and chatting on mobile phones,
And shops bulge with merchandise then undreamt of,
And up the hill students study subjects then unknown,
And so much has changed,
And so much is still the same,
But the old wood sits in peace,
Praying silently for the world.