Having church

Oct 8

We arrived in  Montenedo late yesterday morning. We had intentionally given ourselves a very short six mile day. 

After three brutally long and hilly stages  we had had enough. Walking had ceased to be enjoyable.  We needed a break.

 I had weeded another two pounds of weight out of my bag and was looking for a post office.  

Our clothes were beginning to smell like cheese. 

The logical decision was to take the afternoon off. B would do the laundry and I would unload the “stuff”. 

             Less stuff- smaller box- progress 

When our work was finished, we would tour the Cathedral of Saint Martin, known as the kneeling cathedral. It is tucked down in the town square, totally hidden until you are right beside it. 

 XIII frescos of the slaughter of the innocents  The ” English Madonna” taken by John Dutton from St. Paul’s Cathedral in London during the Reformation and brought to Spain where it became the altarpiece of this cathedral.

Sanctuary slippers in all the litergical colors 

My favorite pair.

XII Madonna and child 

The Holy Family

But today is Sunday and the Cathedral service schedule was not pilgrim friendly so we would do what countless other Christians do. We would worship in the country with nature. 

Mother Nature did not disappoint. She gave good church.

The temperature this mornings was in the mid 40’s but as usual the “initial ascent was long and steep”. Two hours later and fifteen hundred feet higher I was warm.

Surrounded by beauty on every side I was filled with gratitude. Thankful that I had the time to walk for seven hours with no telephone ringing. No interruptions.  No noise.  What luxury. What a gift. I looked out at  God’s world and gave thanks. 

After reaching our cruising altitude we walked on a quiet level road. Not only could I look out at the countryside, I could stop and enjoy nature up close. I could crawl around on my knees not quite praying but not far from it. Another gift of time. 

I found myself singing. First I sang All Things Bright and Beautiful. Then I tried For the Beauty of the Earth. I could only remember the first two lines so I sang them over and over and over or hummed or made up my own words. 

 Alone in the woods I could sing as badly as I did and no one complained. For that too I gave thanks. 

There was no sermon but with my old Quaker background I was very comfortable with long periods of silence.  

I had looked around. I had looked down and as I walked I looked into my heart and my soul. 

My church “service” lasted seven hours. I was the celebrant,  the choir and the congregation  and if I had been The Mystery  Worshipper , I would have given my  service all 1Os. Instead I gave thanks. 

One thought on “Having church”

  1. Thanks Nancy
    It’s Sunday here and I read your musings and shared your photos
    All so beautiful
    The more I read them them The more I realize I couldn’t have made the trip. It sounds so arduous. I would’ve loved to go from place to place by taxi and seeing everything you saw and talked about your experiences with you. It’s a wonderful trip I see. There is so much to see in Spain I can’t wait for the slideshow here in New York. One question, what does it mean when you said the service was “not pilgrim friendly. “?


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