Saturday, 30 March 2013

A Good Friday all-round

On Good Friday this year we went on an ecumenical walk in Edinburgh across Leith Links. There is a plaque on a large table-like stone at one end of Leith Links that commemorates the world's first competitive game of golf played there (though now it's simply a park). We do this accompanied by adults with learning difficulties welcomed by the L'Arche community of Edinburgh. For most of the walk I had the pleasure of the company of George, who is in the far right of the picture on the previous link. When I first met my wife she was in the middle of a 3-year stint as a voluntary assistant living in Edinburgh. If if wasn't for L'Arche our paths wouldn't have crossed (though, as we discovered, we had been at pro-life conferences without having met).

The whole team with Edinburgh Castle directly above my head. What a cool mum they have! Don't be deceived by the sunglasses. I'd say there was a windchill of -5C up there. I could hardly bear to take my gloves off to take the photo below.
It was a lovely experience and reminded me of what L'Arche events have done through the years for me. Like Pope Francis' call to "step outside ourselves", taking part in their events has always been a very welcome break from introspection and stress, even when it didn't seem attractive to go to one and we went anyway. Thank you L'Arche.

It was a wonderful reminder of the universality of the christian faith as well. I met young people from Germany, France, Wales, and Australia.

Then we decided to go up Arthur's Seat, the high point in the middle of Edinburgh. It's only fair that I should point out that one can take the car on a road half-way up Arthur's Seat, walking the last, steep part of the path for 20-30 minutes or so.

The rest of the team with Holyrood Palace in the middle background.
There was some resistance to this trip up a hill. But, as you can see, it was worth it for a 360 degree panoramic view. Snow-clad hills on two sides (the Pentlands on the outskirts of Edinburgh and in Fife). Fife is over the other side of the River Forth behind us in the photos. This is where you'd find St.Andrew's.

We managed to do the reading of the Passion in the car, not being brave enough to take the little ones and our special son to any 3 o'clock service without a childrens' liturgy, and also the Rosary on the way home.

But the most heartening experience of the day was watching a crowd of 40 or so gather for a Good Friday service, journeying up Arthur's Seat. Accompanied by a priest who was one of their own, a group of pilgrims of Asian-Indian origin were making a Stations of the Cross, complete with beautiful wooden crucifix. There were many children among them carrying their Palm Sunday crosses. It was inspiring and, not knowing how to tell them just how beautiful it was, I knelt down on both knees as they past me.

After all, it's not about us. It really was His day, a Good Friday indeed.

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