Earlier this month I walked the land at Farnham and St. John’s. It was a Saturday afternoon. I hadn’t planned ahead of time to do this. But it was as if the land called me in some magnetic way that afternoon. I walked the land at Farnham then got in my car, drove to Warsaw and walked the land at St. John’s. It’s a centuries’ old ritual mostly forgotten these days: “Walking the Bounds” of a church. A time-honored tradition parish priests used to do once a year which would have included parishioners, even townspeople. But on this recent Saturday it was just me. As if these places had a special message for me.
It became a pilgrimage of sorts. Some invisible energy wove around and in me from the earth beneath my feet and within the air I breathed as I circled around each churchyard. I felt it in my bones, in my mind, around my heart. Like what I feel and have tried to share with folks who come for whatever reason (funerals, weddings, baptisms, Queen Anne Sunday, concerts, or just weekly services) to our old historic sanctuaries at Farnham and St. John’s. A sense of something deeply abiding within each. Something invisible but very Present feels embedded in these churches, abiding in the walls and wood and bricks and mortar, even lingering in the air we breathe in these sacred spaces. And now I know this too about the land.
There is something invisible but deeply present at our churches. It is to be honored, cherished. These are sacred spaces, both the structures built by the people and the land formed by the Creator. All of it, human and Divinely created, has been consecrated over the centuries. These spaces have withstood the testing of times and tides in the lives of those who have come and walked the land, spent time in these sanctuaries, buried, baptized, married, sang, prayed, listened, given voice to all the emotions of their hearts and insights of their minds, struggled to make sense of and live ever more faithfully and generously along this journey we call life.
Abiding, honored, cherished are the spaces we know of as Farnham and St. John's. Divinely consecrated they have been. They continue to be graced by an amazing Presence that has guided, strengthened, comforted, conserved and transformed those who seek sanctuary, grounding and renewal here. Who come and then go back out into the world perhaps having found and now know in a renewed way that they carry the same divine Source within them that they find waiting to connect with them in the very earth and air abiding at Farnham and St. John’s.
May you seek, find and be found by this abiding Presence and respond to its call,
Graced by God to find myself your priest and friend,