Saturday, January 17

Durham, England

We arrived home Thursday night from a conference in Durham. Jim presented his first paper and really enjoyed the experience. You can read about the conference on his blog ( ). Jonah and I wondered around the shops and found mother's day gifts and a couple upcoming birthdays. It feels good to be ahead - that is a new one for this family :o)
I took this picture while standing on a foot bridge. I had been walking around town for over half an hour hoping that Jonah would drop off for a nap. Finally I stopped on this bridge so Jonah could watch two street-performing accordion players. That did the trick - he was asleep and I popped into a coffee shop nearby where I sat and worked on my 'well of stories' from my life for my story group that just started up based on the book To Be Told.
Center of the market square - this was some general who built a harbor or something... I read the inscription, but I guess it didn't really stick.
Durham Cathedral! Definitely the highlight of the trip.

We arrived in Durham at 10:30 on Tuesday morning, so after a quick lunch Jim was off to his conference and Jonah had a nice romp on the cathedral green. We then went into the cathedral to explore. Jonah loved the large carved nativity, hearing about the pictures in the windows, saying a prayer and lighting a candle. I realized that the daily communion service was beginning in a few minutes and I asked Jonah if he would like to go. He said yes (he loves taking communion at our church.)

It was an interesting experience. Jonah was restless (and it was nap time) as he was in exploring mode - he wanted to sit on the bench, kneelers and chairs in turn. There were about 15 people present at one of the 'nine alters' for the half hour service. About 10 minutes into the service I was about to take Jonah out - he was talking and squirming. My child was disturbing other's worship. Then I caught myself. 'Wait, these people have a responsibility to Jonah too. I don't know them, but they are part of the body of Christ and so is little Jonah. I am not alone in bringing Jonah up in the faith and I will do him and them a disservice if I don't let that happen.' I took Jonah out for a moment and explained why we needed to be still. He came back in chose to sit on a chair and was good as gold for the rest of the service.

When he went up to the ancient alter and unprompted knelt and put his little hands out - right over left - the position people have been taking to receive communion since the cathedral was built, I was so glad we stayed. He took the bread and waited for the cup (he practices intinction - or 'dipping' in his language). I could see the others watching him out of the corner of my eye - it was beautiful. He then walked back to his chair and said "the bread is in my tummy" and then something about Jesus. He is getting it - in his two-year old way. It made me glad that after lots of thinking we decided to let him take communion so young.

After the service I think almost everyone there came up to Jonah and told him what a good boy he was and how glad they were that he was there. The priest made a special point of talking to him and Jonah told her something about the service. I was so touched to see the church pouring into his little life, teaching him what it means to worship and believe. And I don't think Jonah is the only one who was enriched by the experience - I think Jonah gave as well as received.

And I thought about taking him away because he was talking...

I had seen pictures of Durham Cathedral before, but noting could have prepared me for the massiveness of the building. It is enormous.

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