As many of you know I have been away for 2 weeks on a trip where Peggy and I took a tour of Scotland and Ireland. Both of us have family roots in these countries and neither of us have been.
Now the tour was organized to hit the highlights of Ireland and Scotland but we went with our own slightly different agenda. We have an interest in exploring sacred soil whenever possible, so we made the effort, when time allowed to see working churches and learn about their programs. We often chose to explore old abbeys or historical sites instead of distilleries. Last Sunday we chose to go to a Church of Scotland service in Inverness instead of taking a boat ride on Loch Ness, because we figured we would rather worship in this old church than searching for the ephemeral monster.
Of course when you travel you meet interesting people who share their stories and reach across the divides of culture to connect on a human level. That is the true treasure, often, of the whole experience.
The other lesson for me on these islands steeped in history was that the past is important. It is something we can easily forget. I was made more aware of the ways that God has been at work in people’s lives for centuries especially in the life of faithful folks. Somehow the trust of God’s connection to us kept coming to me when we were in old broken down monasteries. Walking around in roofless rooms with partial walls I tried to imagine the lives of the people who worshiped there. It was almost impossible to transplant myself even for a few minutes, but I tried.
The whole experience was quite humbling as I recognized, again, the many places where people have been telling the stories of faith and finding hope through their faith.
Glad to be back, rested and refreshed.
Here is a picture of a baby deer from a stop on the Ring of Kerry. The last one is the two of us at the Ring Cairn where the woman in Outlander “travelled through time” into the 1740’s. Great fun!