Village Visit: Secret

While looking at a map of El Bierzo we came across a monastery which we had not visited yet and was fairly close. We decided to make an adventure of it with Nikki, an intern from the US. Things got a little suspicious as the GPS guided us off of the paved road and on to a rutted gravel road. For about a kilometer we worked our way up the washed out path and then came around a bend to see a beautiful stone settlement tucked away in the valley. A man was out working in the field and upon our interrogation he explained that the monastery, or what was left of it, was private, but we could walk around and look at it – under the agreement that we not tell anyone where it is! So…consider yourself not told.

Not only did Domingo allow us to walk around, but he gave us a tour, explained the history as he heard it when his father purchased the property when Domingo was a little boy. He showed us the ways in which his farm is adapting to the monastery walls, and even gave Tanzen an antique cowbell that had been sitting in his work shed since he was a boy.

We finished the tour with a picnic in the upper meadow overlooking the El Bierzo valley. It was a great day of religious, historical, and cultural learning which I doubt we will ever forget.

IMG_2483IMG_2485IMG_2504IMG_2519IMG_2534IMG_2557IMG_2563IMG_2578IMG_2583

Identity

“And now in Christ it is literally true that the person we adore most in the universe adores us. In the eyes of God, in the opinion of the only one in the universe whose opinion ultimately counts, we are more valuable than all the jewels that lie beneath the earth.”

Tim Keller, Making Sense of God

The key phrase: In Christ.

Protestant Cemetery

Last week we had a team meeting in a village about 2 hours away. While there we were able to visit one of the only (perhaps the only) Protestant cemeteries in Spain.

To North American ears this could be confusing, but the reality is that multiple factors (including the Counter Reformation, Franco, etc) have made it difficult in the past for non-catholic believers in Spain to live a life of religious freedom.

IMG_1560IMG_1570IMG_1568IMG_1553IMG_1555

Everything is a free gift

Once we know through faith in Christ’s work for us that we are reconciled to God, and that the Creator is now not just our sovereign but our father, we can begin to have a more “sacramental” experience of the world. We see everything as a free gift from Father and a foretaste of the glory and goodness to come in our eternal inheritance. In short, as Miroslav Volf puts it, “Attachment to God amplifies and deepens enjoyment of the world.” It does not diminish it.

Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical by Timothy Keller