On Saturday morning I climbed a mountain and on Sunday morning I attended a church service. Both were incredibly powerful and meaningful in similar ways, and the experience reminds me that worship comes in many forms.
One of the highlights of my time in Edinburgh was climbing the unnamed mountain. The summit specifically is named Arthur’s Seat, but the whole of the cliff remains anonymous.
Our group split into two-the headstrong gentlemen raced ahead out of view and the remaining cautious ones ambled along. I gripped the hand of one of my companions and we kept putting one foot in front of the other. At the summit our two groups sat next to each other. We cobbled our snacks together for lunch and took in the view. I took my socks and shoes off, lay back on the flat expanse, and put on my favorite song. In that moment, I felt completely safe and secure, having carved a place for myself in this ever-shifting world.
Here’s a shot of my friends wearing actual kilts to honor their heritage. They put on the outfits in the morning and wore them during the hike and all day. Gotta love theater kids! Yes I got permission from them to share this.
The trek reminded me of my love of hiking and reinforced why I joined this adventure. As cliche as it is, there is something to be said for the view from the top. But more rewarding than the perspective shift is the knowledge that I just climbed a mountain in Scotland. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and the incredible experience is well worth the preceding bad night. Isn’t that the way all of life goes though? We go through good times and bad, sometimes in the same hour.
Church on Sunday was lovely. I grew up in an American Anabaptist church. we have a routine for our services, but we lack the… reverence, the knowledge that our routines and the places we practice them are far older than us, steeped in sacred tradition like tea. I’ve never attended a liturgical service and I appreciated the contrast of variety within structure. we opened with prayer, sang a hymn, the reverend spoke, and so the pattern continued. I quite appreciated that we had a female reverend. Her sermon was on the importance of the Sabbath, with scriptural evidence from Isaiah, Luke, and Hebrews. After the service Communion was offered. That was a unique experience
I went up and knelt, but I didn’t take anything, since I worried about allergies. Rev. Sue came and simply placed her hands on my head with a little prayer. I still felt I was partaking in a sacred ritual, and the prayer was a tender gesture of recognition and care that I cherish.
These two experiences have reminded me that God can be found everywhere, and I don’t have to prefer one method over another. After the rough second evening, the morning on the mountain reminded me why I signed up for this journey, and the structure of the church service felt like a sturdy embrace. Already, Edinburgh feels like home. I can’t believe we leave at 8am tomorrow! We’re off to Lindisfarne, where we’ll have far less activity and far less WiFi. I’ve heard the atmosphere has a mystical quality and I can’t wait to check it out! Stay tuned. Bon Voyage 🏴 E