I really enjoyed worshipping in the Köln Cathedral. The organ playing was incredible. I could not believe how beautiful it sounded! I loved listening to the music throughout the service. I also enjoyed the choral singing, both the choir’s singing and singing with the congregation. The hymn singing was similar to my home church. I was unused to the chanting by the priest, but I did like it. I was surprised at how much I could understand, given that the entire service was in German. The people spoke very clearly and though my German semester at Calvin I became familiar with church vocabulary. I also realized that even if you don’t understand the language, God still can and will speak to you through the service. High mass at the Köln Cathedral was fairly similar to my home church. The service structure and traditions were similar, but there were several large differences. Besides the language difference, they burnt incense during the service. I was unused to this and I didn’t like it very much. I did enjoy the stained glass windows, however. Being surrounded by beautiful stained glass was different but beautiful.
I felt awkward coming out of the service and seeing all the tourists waiting to come in. It was especially awkward since we had been those tourists the night before when we first arrived in Köln. To me, having tourists there intruded on the peace and gravity of the service. However, I think that the tourists should be able to enjoy the beauty and peace of the church as well. I’m just not sure I’m comfortable with tourists walking around taking pictures during worship. I understand that people want to view the beautiful church and I think it is great to showcase the history and impressive architecture; as long as the tourists are not disruptive, I think it’s reasonable to allow them to take pictures. I think worship in the cathedral can be shared with tourists as long as the worship itself is not disrupted.