Here is the post (I hope with pictures):
From the beginning, humans have marked the passing of time. Sunrise, sunset. The movements of the waters - high and low tides. The four phases of the moon, each consisting of seven days. The passing of the seasons as nature reflects the movement of earth around the sun…winter, spring, summer, fall…a dormant season, a blossoming season, a growing season, a season for harvest. And it keeps on repeating, over and over and over, all of it…tides, sunsets, moon phases, seasons, and years…
There are so many memories the Camino brought to me. Several of the standouts are these: The blessing from St Anne’s as we ended our last service in May prior to flying to Europe. The first pilgrim mass we went to on the eve of our journey in Roncesvalles. Vespers and Compline with the monks of Rabanal del Camino. And the pilgrim’s mass in Santiago. It seems that for me God is always present, always here, but most powerfully present in the rhythm, the routine, the ritual. Walking and seeing the mountains, the plains, the rivers, the crops, the villages and the people - powerfully declare the beauty of God…but it seemed that God was most present in the rhythm, routine, and ritual of time that is intentional. By that I mean, when I intentionally offered time to God, by returning to God, by making the priority to stop and spend time with God, there was presence that was overwhelming. It was as though in coming to God in this manner, it was a returning of the gift of time that the Lord had given to me. It was, if you will, a sanctifying of what was, what is, and what will be.
When we arrived at Santiago, it was much like the arrival at the Cross de Ferro - a great big hollow empty that greeted us - God was seemingly absent. The town took 3 forevers to walk through, the crowds were crazy thick, the cathedral was covered in scaffolding, and there were buses and cars and venders all over the cathedral square - hardly the arrival I had pictured. We didn't go to mass that night, instead we waited and headed by taxi for several days at Finisterre. If you watched the movie “The Way” this is were they end their journey. It is actually the pre-Christian camino, it is known by locals as the “pegan camino” because it is a journey to the end of the known Roman world, where the gods live and dead belong. It too was a “let down”, nothing like the crashing see of the movie, although the actual place is breathtaking in its own right. We returned to Santiago to complete our Camino by attending the pilgrim’s mass - I was skeptical. The Camino seemed to be amounting to little more than a long walk…and then the mass began and the entire Camino fell into its proper place. In the rhythm and routine of the ritual — in this sacred place of time, God was present…in the actions, in the song, in the worship, in the sermon (more on that in another post), and in the blessing of the Botafumeiro…it brought an expected blessing of laughter, of joy, of the remarkable presence of God - and there was evening and there was morning.
On this Camino, God was always present - theologically I know this…but here is how I would sum up my experience for the 34 days of Camino: God was not in the wind, nor was He in the heat, not in the cross on the mountain, nor in the edifice of the cathedral, of the coast of Spain…He was in the still small whisper that is ritual…in the rhythm and routine of a set time of prayer and worship. We are blessed at St Anne’s…we have regular ritual - a time and place, a rhythm and routine of worship on Wed and Sun mornings. Deacon Mary Lynn has been offering the rhythm and routine of ritual at 8:45 for prayer. We have the BCP and the opportunity for regular, routine daily prayer…the rhythm and ritual of the daily offices. Many of you experienced the Daniel Plan and made daily time with God a priority. My encouragement for each of us is to sanctify this gift of time, by setting aside a portion of it each day to intentionally spend with the Lord. One might even call this a sabbath time each day…a rhythm, a routine, a ritual of setting aside intentional time and offering it back to the Lord in prayer and worship. And there was evening and there was morning…”time”.
More to come at another “time”,
Blessings from Italy, (and now Austria!)