Hometown: Walnut Creek, Calif.
Today, I experienced my first religious service; the only times I have gone to church before were for a piano or violin recital. So when a couple students decided to attend an Easter Mass in Icelandic at the Hallsgrimskirkja, Reykjavik’s largest Lutheran church, I jumped on the opportunity to experience something new.
As we walked towards the top of the hill where the church is situated, my eyes were immediately drawn to the building’s most impressive feature: the bell tower. The exterior of the church was completely made of concrete pillars that imitated the basalt formations found throughout the island.
Tall glass windows let in slivers of light into the interior of the church, infusing the vaulted ceiling with a soft, warm glow. As I sat in my pew, I watched the priest christen a baby girl with holy water, his deep voice infusing each corner of the hall with spiritual incantations. Between readings of passages and sermons, the choir would perform their musical selections, their majestic voices resonating throughout the church and sending chills up my spine. Even though I didn’t understand a word of the entire ceremony, it brought me peace, and insight into the culture of Iceland.