We recently spent a couple of nights in Durham (far too short!). Durham is a wonderful place, which has never failed to inspire and delight me/us.
As ever we visited the magnificent cathedral. Access to part of it was restricted as they were preparing for Evensong, which is fair enough - it is a working church after all. We wandered around the unrestricted bit, then headed to the cafeteria for a cup of tea and a wee cake (very nice).
When we went back into the cathedral, Evensong had started. The choir were singing and there was a small group of people at the back of the cathedral listening, so I joined them. I don't know what the choir were singing, but it was polished and clear and wonderful to listen to ... but then I realised that I was a spectator at a performance rather than a participant in an act of worship.
This was a real contrast to our visit to St Nic's in the Market Place on Sunday morning. The service wasn't polished, the music was competent but not brilliant - but the atmosphere was warm and a sense of worship and togetherness filled the place.
What's the difference? It was nothing to do with the cathedral, and everything to do with me. I didn't go to the cathedral expecting to be part of a church service, and I didn't adjust my mindset when I was inside either. The difference is about 'coming expectantly' and offering ourselves in worship - participating not just spectating.