Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Glastonbury Abbey

Glastonbury Abbey

Walking through the little museum, my impatience grew to see the abbey.  The words explaining all the items blurred together.  I read just enough to learn Henry VIII stole all the artifacts from the abbey and afterwards the town caused the destruction of much of the abbey by using the structure as a quarry for newer buildings in the town.  I snapped pictures with an unsteady hand, emotions swirling around and fighting for expression.

The Holy Spirit grew stronger as I walked to the exit of the little building.  I threw the door open in exhilaration, only to fumble to close the glass doors in my hast to walk down the cement stairs.  The land rolled out in front of me.  Lush green grass dashed up the slight incline and hugged up against the ancient stonework.  The cloudy sky softened the harshness of the crumbling walls of cream and tan coloring.  A dark brown cross stood tall, stretching to the sky.  I felt the Holy Spirit wrap around me as I stepped towards the cross.  With a shaky hand, the camera clicked away.  My emotions overwhelmed me as I breathed in the moist spring air, perfumed with grass and daffodils.

The Cross

Step by step, I entered the lower level of the Lady Chapel.  I concentrated just to remember to breath.  As I turned towards the left, a simple alter stood at the end of the chapel.  I strolled towards the place of worship where priests observed Mass for over a thousand years.  Christians worshiped in this area since the 7th century, the first official recording of the abbey.  At the alter, I lowered onto my knees and drank in the Spirit.  My mind blanked of any prayer except the prayer Jesus taught, The Our Father.  A stone depiction of Jesus on the Cross  hung on the Cross, the simplicity, breathtaking.  As I knelt in worship, my heart yearned to see the Holy Land. 

The Lady Chapel

The Alter of the Lady Chapel
Jesus, hanging behind the alter.

Being a devoted Christian (not necessarily a good Christian, but very loyal), I found it odd that the Holy Land has not been on my bucket list.  Two years ago, I had the chance to go with my priest and some of our parishioners, but the desire was lacking.  Kneeling at the alter, I longed to be transported to the place Jesus preached and died.  How this emotion overcame me is unknown.  I wonder if the legends of Joseph of Arimathea (the man who gave his tomb to Jesus after the Crucifixion) coming to this spot are true.  Is this why I felt so connected?  I will never know this side of Heaven, but it is now one of my research questions when I enter the pearly gates.

As my knees grew sore, I stood.  Walking out of the Lady Chapel, I wandered to a metal marker.  The sign claimed to be the spot where King Arthur and Guinevere's burial spot was found by the monks in the 12th century.  Of course, I am skeptical.  The abbey's funding was drying up and the monks used the discovery to profit from people coming to see King Arthur.  They moved the bodies into the abbey to display.  The bodies were lost in the 1500's during the Tudor reign.  True or not, I loved allowing my imagination to run wild with the thoughts of them walking on the grounds.  Merlin trailing behind giving advice. 
Where the monks found King Arthur and Guinevere

The spot where the monks moved the bodies to be in the abbey.

The rest of the time on the main grounds I felt I walked on a cloud.  My camera clicked away. 

The roped off area is where the high alter was in the abbey.

Inside the abbey

Behind the abbey.
As I finished walking in the area I discovered a little chapel next to the visitor's center built in the early 1500's and restored in 2008.  I lit a candle.  I sat for a bit, saying another Our Father.  The artwork was amazing.  At this point, my emotions left me drained.  I left the area and went into the gift shop.  Here I found little trinkets to purchase for my 4th Day ladies and my walking partner.  I also bought a few things for myself.  I smiled as I realized my personal library held some of the books they had on display about King Arthur.  I would have loved to buy all the books, but I choose one about the Abbey and one about Merlin.  I can always buy from Amazon and not have to pack them in my suitcase.  I was sad when we left the Abbey.  Though emotional, a sense of peace settled on my soul.  The Spirit is alive and well in this holy place.

The main men from the abbey

My favorite stained glass window.

Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Saint Bridget

Saint Patrick
What a beauty

A fun shot

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