sabbatical 2019 - Canterbury

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August 11th 2019
Published: August 11th 2019
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We arrived in Canterbury after a taxi and 2 train rides from Lindisfarne - 5 hour trip

Canterbury is another "Holy Place". Pilgrims have been flocking here for 1600 years. So we are travelling on well worn pavement. Indeed some of the paving stones in the Cathedral are amazingly worn down, especially on the steps. The chancel area of this Cathedral is quite unique, with many sets of stairs going up and up and up. The final destination was the martyrdom of Thomas a Becket, way behind the great altar. Quite a journey for a weary pilgrim to reach this final destination.

We got to go to 11am worship in the Quire this morning. The Cathedral has massive renovations going on outside and inside. Thus the pipe organ is out for restoration and no worship in the nave, while there is scaffolding covering it's ceiling. However, even an electronic, temporary organ sounded decent in the wonderful acoustics of such an edifice. As the choir processed in and the opening hymn was introduced I got choked up. hmmmm?! Didn't expect that. God, what are you up to, I asked? Worship in such a holy place and with voices and organ echoing throughout the building is profoundly meaningful to me. And in addition, I spent a year going to school on the Cathedral grounds at the King's School, and have visited it twice since that 1972-73 school year. (Luxmore House was my dorm.) In addition my father was instrumental in establishing the Canterbury Trust in America, an organization in America of "friends" who support the Cathedral with prayers and $. He made at least 10 trips here, and in fact stayed at the Lodge where we are staying on the Cathedral grounds. So needless to say, there were ample reasons for God to be tugging at my heart. What a blessing! We have toured the extensive Cathedral grounds twice now and will tour the inside tomorrow.

Becky and I are mindful of the bookends of this pilgrimage to great Britain for us. Iona and Canterbury are particularly "thin" places - where the Holy Spirit seems very present - Canterbury made extra special with the passing of my father and the connection he had to this place. While living in Chevy Chase, Md., he was a chaplain at the Washington Cathedral. He used to describe himself as flying between 2 nests - that of Canterbury Cathedral and the Washington National Cathedral.

Thinking of "thin" places - I thought of St. James', Skaneateles, and realized devoted people have been worshiping on that spot for over 200 years and almost 150 years in the present building. Might we experience that as a "thin" place too?

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