I was thinking about the title of our blog the other day. "An Old Path" and "a journey of two friends". As sometimes happens, we couldn't arrange a 19th century church visist this weekend - we had plans of attending "St. Patrick's" in Hamilton as we weren't able to attend mass the day we visited the church and choose to attend "Christ the King" cathedral instead - the home of the Bishop of the Diocese of Hamilton. We both wanted to return to St. Patrick's, though, because there was such a feeling of peace inside this church we wanted to experience it more fully. We couldn't make it work this weekend, but part of the fun of this expedition is planning and looking forward to the next discovery. So we'll save St. Patrick's for another day and look forward to our return.
Back to "An Old Path". After attending St. Francis church where we are closing out our 50th year Jubilee celebrations, my friend surprised me with a country drive along the old pioneer roads. The leaves are just starting to change and the ebb and flow of our favourite valley was highlighted in the ambers and yellows of fall. My friend said he wanted to drive on dirt roads and a few minutes later we stumbled upon a secluded gravel road with trees creating an umbrella of amber and yellow leaves overhead. I teased him and asked "Do you get everything you ask for?" - and then remembered the passage "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you" (Matthew 7:7).
We've been given so many things as part of this journey. We've learned about architecture, and buildings but also about faith and community and friendship and fellowship and also about our pioneer roots. I live in a city but when I drive the old roads I feel those roots call me very strongly.
We stopped at an old pioneer cemetery and read the names lovingly inscribed on the stones. Many of the stone were weather-worn and we could hardly make out the names from 150 years ago. Who stood where we stood? Who mourned these lives?
I suppose this all may seem really off topic and not have much to do with 19th century churches. But when I am out in the country with trees and the valley and open sky and glimpses of wildlife, I feel closer to God than at almost any other time. Maybe that is why I like it so much and seek it out. Einsten once said that the more he studies the universe, the more he believes in a higher power. Just like the finest watch is created by a mastercraftsman, the natural world around us seems created by a mind so sophisticated we can hardly comprehend the genius behind it. To believe it all to be random would be to believe those intricate watch parts came together by themselves or when thrown on the floor. No. A greater hand was behind the enterprise.
Maybe a greater hand is behind this enterprise too. Lead and we will follow. An old path.