It’s been several days since my last post. However, I’m happy to report that this delay wasn’t caused by any “issues.” There simply have been a lot of things to do and see!
Last Sunday, for example, I had the chance to worship with the members of Adelaide Place Baptist Church in Glasgow, which—aside from the Scottish accents and the beautiful building constructed in the late 1800’s—felt a lot like being at home. The people were very friendly and welcoming. And they were clearly excited about the work God is doing among them. In fact, it made me look forward to being back with my own church family at Calvary, where I find a similarly warm and passionate spirit.
After worship, I spent much of last Sunday afternoon soaking in the ambiance of Glasgow Cathedral, which dates back to the early 1100’s but which still hosts worship every Sunday. One of the more striking visual elements that captures this “ancient yet new” reality is a neon sign above the arch that separates the nave from the altar area. Although the picture below is a little hard to make out, the sign says, “Returning and into your arms,” which creates a reminder of God’s immanence and intimacy amid an otherwise transcendent space.
My final day in Glasgow was spent visiting several other local attractions, including the University of Glasgow (established in the 1400’s), the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, and the Glasgow Botanical Garden.
Now, as I prepared for last Tuesday’s bike ride from Glasgow to Edinburgh, I have to confess that I was feeling a bit uneasy. It wasn’t so much the distance (although, at just over 50 miles, I knew the trip would take some effort). It was the fact that my route had the potential to run alongside some well-travelled roads. Thankfully, I stopped in a local bike shop to ask if they could suggest an alternative, and they told me about a greenway that runs almost all the way from Glasgow to Edinburgh on an old canal towpath. As a result, my ride turned out to be relaxing, beautiful, and traffic-free. In fact, it was even hill-free! Praise the Lord!
Upon arriving in Edinburgh, one of the first things I noticed is the city’s unusual geography. Apparently, ancient volcanic rock was carved out by passing glaciers, leaving several dramatic rock formations that tower over the area. In fact, Edinburgh Castle—which rises several hundred feet above the heart of the city—sits atop one of these outcroppings, making it the perfect spot for a defensive citadel that has existed in one form or another for more than 3000 years.
Along with the Castle, I’ve enjoyed making visits to some of Edinburg’s other sights…
Tomorrow (Saturday, July 30), I’ll be leaving Edinburgh. And after an overnight stop in a small community about 40 miles south of here, i’ll be cycling on to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, which is the next place that I’ll be staying for several days. Like the Isle of Iona that I visited previously, Lindisfarne is the site of a very early and very significant monastic community that played a key role in re-evangelizing Britain and Europe following the fall of the Roman Empire. As a result, I’m hoping it will be one of those “thin places“ that invites reflection on the movement of God’s Spirit, both past and present.
As always, I value your prayers for my safety and for my ability to receive the gifts, lessons, and/or challenges that the Lord wants to give me through this sabbatical pilgrimage. Rest assured that you are in my prayers, too. And this week, I’ll be praying especially that you’ll be as inspired by Kyle Matthews this coming weekend as I’ve been inspired by him in the past. So keep resting, keep reflecting, and keep trusting in the renewal that God wants to send as we continue to serve Him.
Dave and I have been following your post. I love seeing the pictures and reading about the history of the places. With all the things that happened a little different than what you expected, I hope you are also getting unexpected revelations from God. We know God works in unexpected ways and through unexpected people and unexpected circumstances. We know He is always there with us no matter what. We are praying for you daily.
Hey, Alex! Sitting here by the lake with your mom and enjoying your adventure. Praying that you find everything He has for you. It looks like you’re well on your way! Godspeed!