Celtic GlorySpiritual


Cardinham, Cornwall

I decided to do a ‘saunter’ with God along unfamiliar paths in an isolated spot around the village of Cardinham in Cornwall. Cardinham was an ancient Christian Celtic prayer oratory established in the 5th century and a monastery which developed into a church. The raised ʼlan’ is still evident around the circular churchyard which also contains two ancient Celtic crosses one from 800 AD, the other 900AD. The carving is stunning on the older one and the interior of the church is beautiful, permeated by prayer and with some delightful stained glass.

Glass cardinham
Galas cardinham

 I had been listening to Pete Greig of Lectio365 as he pilgrimages from Iona to Lindisfarne over three weeks. He talked about how early pilgrims ‘sant a terre’, literally they were traversing the earth. This was the origin of the word ‘to saunter’ apparently. So, inspired by his talk this morning, I decided to go on a walk with God. (Pilgrimage: St Aidan's Way with Pete Greig | Lectio 365 | 24-7 Prayer - YouTube)

Cardinham walk

 I knew I wasn’t alone, that God walked with me and no doubt my angel too, yet as I left the village behind I found myself a little nervous. The signs about keeping dogs on leads were quite hostile, even though it was open countryside with no stock, and it took me a while to settle into the rhythm of walking and not feel like a chided schoolgirl, who felt guilty of wrongdoing even when she wasn’t. Anyone else relate? I laid the young girl’s fears to rest and began to focus on my dog’s happy carefree bouncing through the long grass.

Cardinham meadow

We crossed a meadow full of wild grasses, seed heads and flowers down to a tiny stream and lane before cutting into woodland and the cool of leafy shade. It was a hot, humid June day at the height of summer the solstice being last night. The trees seemed to gather around me, cocooning me in their green canopy of coolness.

I relaxed, I sauntered, I lost myself in the beauty of nature. No one was around. I had the woods with the sunlight dappling through, all to myself for most of the walk. I met a junction and saw a man on an upper path a little way off. I was alert but not anxious, just checking occasionally that he didn’t follow me…..caution, not fear. It struck me as a parallel with our daily walk with God. We can relax but be alert to possible enemy activity where we may need to take diversions to avoid trouble.

 I found myself following a deeply cut, very ancient path, sunken between two stone hedges and canopied by beech trees. How many people have traversed that path over the centuries? If only the trees could talk. Occasionally I would stop in my tracks as an ancient tree rose amongst the smaller ones, its huge canopy dwarfing surrounding vegetation, hundreds of years old. One massive beech tree took my breath away with its beauty, so statuesque in grandeur.

Cardinham walk

 All the time I held my OS map close. I have a good sense of direction, but this walk involved some turns which disoriented me and because of the woodland I couldn’t see across the land to get my bearings. At one point I decided I had to trust the map and not my intuition which told me to go a different path. I’m glad I did because even though I couldn’t see the lie of the land or the end destination of the path, it led me right back to the church where I’d parked up. 

Cardinham church

What an analogy for life. I pondered how the Bible is my road map and the Holy Spirit. I may feel I am on the wrong path, be beleaguered with doubts, think I’ve taken a wrong turning but if I am submitted to God, trusting His word in the Bible and his Spirit who leads and counsels me, I will reach the right destination. I just have to choose to rely on his map of my life. It was a timely reminder for me. Doubts assail all of us, self-doubt too, yet we can trust him.

Celtic cross cardinham

 The verse from Jeremiah 6:16 came to mind

 Stand at the crossroads and look

Ask for the ancient paths

Ask where the good way is and walk in it

And you will find rest for your souls

I walked ancient paths today in the natural but ultimately, I walk the ancient path of faith in a living God as set out in his Bible and outworked through his Spirit in my life. I’ve learnt over the decades of knowing him. I am fully able to trust him never to lead me astray, let me down or abandon me. His love for me remains constant and enduring.

Cardinham angel