Back in Parliament yesterday, and I unexpectedly arrived a little early – so found myself waiting for around 15 minutes in Westminster Hall. It was idyllic – the sun streaming through the great south windows. Perfect for reflections on the extraordinary events that occurred on this very spot: from monarchs and statesmen lying in state (the most recent, of course, being the Queen Mother), to grand inquisitions and historic orations (such as Mandela in 1996, the extraordinary moment of seeing a Pope address both Houses in 2010, and then Obama this year, the first US President to address both Houses from the Hall).
It is a truly special and inspiring space.
Which made it seem all the more incongruous, as we went down into the Undercroft Chapel, for the next instalment of 1 Corinthians after last week’s. For in the next bit, Paul is at pains to emphasize how unimpressive and powerless (in worldly terms) the church was in his day. But it is a message we always need reminding of – especially in a place like Parliament.