Sacred Places Journal
12 October, 2001: Whitby to London: Natural Contemplation, Unnatural Terrorism
Under a pink sunrise we walk to Lauds. The sunrise service is especially beautiful with the sisters singing in their clear voices. Then, Communion. Appropriately, today is the memorial of Wilfred, one of the leaders of the Synod of Whitby. Although born in Northumbria and educated at Lindisfarne, Wilfred led the Roman party against the Celts. And prevailed.
At Communion, as at almost every service we have attended in this land where multiple daily services are still regularly observed, President Bush is prayed for in the intercessions. So much continual prayer. It has to make a difference, ultimately.
A day that was scheduled for long, grueling travel turns out to be serenditiously delightful. A staff member at Sneaton Castle is going to Durham and offers us a ride-saving two arduous train journeys and allowing us a joyful re-visit to the lovely city of Durham. At last I find a really good replica of Cuthbert's pectoral cross, for which I've been searching for days. And we have time to engage in what the Eastern Fathers called "natural contemplation" as we sit by the River Wear watching ducks, feeding fish, a scurrying rat, trees, sunlight on the water, and Durham Cathedral-all a reflection of the Creator.
And a few hours later, back in London, the Tube at rush hour, everyone reading newspapers screaming headlines of terrorism and war.