Down Tools: Wild Christ
Seeking a Liturgy of the Wild, (Part 27)
Hello friends – well wow. I’m back from the woods, though by the time you read this I will have given talks advocating Orthodoxy at the Greenbelt Festival in Northamptonshire and been reunited with my beloved parents and brother in the old family home. I need a moment to sit with quite what happened on The Peregrini Sit: both round the fire and quite what happened to the fasters up in their spots. After twenty-eight years of vigils it’s rare to be left speechless. I’m absolutely knackered and tremendously moved. To have church round a fire and surrounded by oaks was the most primevally rehydrating of experiences. There was something so utterly right about it. To watch Duncan, Claire, Natasha, Hunt, James, and Jonathan leaving to fast in the early morning mist was like something from the early Irish accounts of the saints. Everything was waiting for them. The beautiful stuff, the terrible stuff, the healing stuff. Amen. And for us too, even as the first dollops of storm-rain began to land on our tarp. More thoughts in time. I will announce the dates for next year’s sit soon. My prayers are that much will grow from this.
Whilst keeping basecamp we read poems for our fasters out beyond our visual sight. Here’s a few poems and a few thoughts from the Desert Mothers (Mary C. Earle provides the commentary), it’s just a few minutes, a taster from the fire (scroll down for audio).
Theodora of Alexandria
And now we head back out on our West Country pilgrimage on the trail of saints.
DOWN TOOLS: WILD CHRIST
‘When we came over the shoulder of the wild hill, above the sea, to Zennor, I felt we were coming into the Promised Land.’
It’s morning now, breakfasted and two coffees in, I sit in bliss and just gaze at Zennor. After all last night’s fish and sea epiphanies I’m keeping my eyes locked on granite outcrops, the flashes of yellow and burgundy grasses, the swooping buzzard and The Tinners cat who is hanging patiently around my boots waiting for my scraps.
Sabbath Christ, St Breaca’s church, Cornwall
I’m in luck today, because for this next step of the trip I have the best of guides in the form of Lucy Cooper, a great Cornish writer and life-learned in her knowledge of this neck of the proverbial woods. This is her deep ground. It’s nice not to be driving this next leg, as the lanes of this county are now so small and utterly overgrown they make even a Dartmoor man uneasy. You get pixie-led. Strayed. I call it a county, but I have to finally hold my hands up and say it feels like a kingdom all to itself. Devon and Cornwall were all once the kingdom of Dumnonia, but I have to admit, there’s an unmistakable and unique atmosphere down here.