Monday, October 13, 2008

Tintern Abbey

These pictures are of Tintern Abbey, which is located in the Southern Wales' Wye River Valley, which is located in the United Kingdom. They were taken on our Honeymoon in May, 1994. We toured all over England, Wales and Scotland, and it was an amazing trip! I will be sharing other pictures and thoughts in later blogs. I chose to start with these pictures, because something happened to me during our visit at this historic Abbey.

As we walked around, taking in the gorgeous scenery, I became aware of a great sadness. This place touched me as no other religious site had. It was inconceivable to me that such a beautiful place of worship could be destroyed so ruthlessly. I found my self wondering about the people who inhabited this Abbey at the time it was destroyed. I wondered about the pain they must have felt, and wondered what became of them. Of course, my mind was soon focused on the marvels from the rest of our wonderful trip. Yet, Tintern is the first place I think of when I reminisce about our honeymoon. Tintern Abbey was founded by Cistercian monks in the 12th century. It "fell" to King Henry VIII's men in 1531. A better account of the history of Tintern Abbey can best be read by visiting this site:
I had had similar feelings as we toured St. Paul's Cathedral in London. It survived the German's bumbling blitz during WW2. While touring St. Paul's the docent shared stories about how volunteers climbed up into St Paul's large dome, prepared to extinguish fires during the nightly bombings. At the end of the war, St. Paul's had prevailed, and stood proudly.... distinguishing London's skyline with it's magnificent dome even today. St. Paul's had a profound effect on me, but it was nothing compared to the reaction I had at Tintern Abbey.
I think perhaps, that it's something to do with the vicious destruction of God's House. And how, some of God's Houses can withstand war, devastating hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes, while others cannot. Tintern Abbey obviously did not "survive" in it's original state. Yet, it still stands, and it is still majestic... and it still is a place where there is a strong feeling of God's presence. There is no doubt that He is there.
While having dinner a week or so ago, he shared photos that he took on a recent trip to Germany. There were pictures of very old churches in both Berlin, and Dresden, all of which had with had survived the bombing during WW2. What an amazing thing. I found myself gazing at the pictures... realizing that this was awakening something in me. An awareness of the power of God.. the power of God's love. And again I pulled out the pictures from our honeymoon and gazed at my photos of Tintern Abbey. It was destroyed. Or was it? Yes the place is in ruins. But as I've already said, God's love is there. The lesson, I think is that God's love prevails. Bricks and mortar can being torn down... but God's Love cannot! And to that, I say "Thanks Be To God!!!"

1 comment:

Pauline said...

Thanks be to God