“We must remember Christ was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves; on a town garbage heap.”
There is a line from a song by John Bell of the Iona Community that has taken on new meaning for the pilgrims: “At night, as I dreamt, God summoned the day; for God never sleeps, but patterns the morning with slithers of gold or glory in grey.”
The time of John Knox and the time of the Covenanters came together inside the walls of St. Giles High Kirk (still often called St. Giles Cathedral).
We began our journey through Scotland at a place of great beauty and, for John Knox , great pain.
“John Calvin was many things, but he was not a Calvinist,” said Rev. John Gibaut. “A Reformer, yes. But a Catholic Reformer. That was what he considered himself to be.”
Although it’s now a small community surrounded by farms, Avenches was once the site of a Roman city (then called Aventicum). It was the capital of Rome’s Swiss province, and the fields are still dotted with ruins.
Psalms were of central importance to John Calvin and his worshipping community in Geneva. Through their diversity, the Psalms captured every human emotion and feeling.
On our last day in Meaux, we visited a church founded by martyrs. The modest Reformed church, or “temple” in French, seems jarringly plain compared to the soaring Gothic cathedrals we’ve visited in the past few days.
Notre Dame de Noyon has seen plenty of destruction. The statues and most of the carvings that adorned its façade were smashed by Protestants during the Wars of Religion.
Today began in an obscure corner of the Bible: Genesis 26:12-18. You may have never heard the story, said Gerald Hobbs, one of the pilgrimage leaders, as we sat near one of the side chapels in Meaux’s immense cathedral.
Yesterday, I was starting to feel like a pilgrim. Bleary-eyed, tired and far from home was how I always imagined pilgrims must feel—at least for a little while.