St Crida Church, Cornwall, UK
This was my second visit to St Crida's church. You can search for the first visit which impacted me so greatly I wanted to return. This time the churchyard was smothered in bluebells rather than primroses and I chose to sit on several of the many benches set around the enclosure before entering the church.
The bench overlooking the water meadows along the River Fal and the neighbouring pond belonging to the adjoining property is my favourite. It gives a broad vista of beauty and the Fal valley looking over towards Golden and the hill fort on the other side of the valley.
The river is not visible from the graveyard and so we decided to walk the permitted path to see it. I was immediately struck by the fact that we seemed to be walking on a constructed raised causeway between two ditches. It felt immeasurably ancient and I began to wonder if this was in fact connected to St Crida's nunnery. She established her nunnery in this position to aid travellers along the River Fal. This path led directly to the river in a straight line. Did it indeed date back to her time? I need to see if I can find any evidence, especially as at the end of the causeway walk, which stops far short of the current river, there appears to be a wet area that looks like a large inlet. There is a slope from the causeway leading down to this. Could it have been a wharf? An unloading area? A place where boats moored? I've no evidence other than what I could see so will need to see if I can find anything further.
Walking on across what are now water meadows we reached the River Fal which at this point is very unassuming and small. It seems to have been put into a manmade channel too and it's very hard to imagine 1600 years ago that it was navigable and serviced the Romano-British fort at Golden and St Crida's nunnery. Travellers embarked here for the continent. Today it is little more than a stream at this point so there have been some big changes in the geography of the area.
However, looking back towards St Crida's enclosure where the church stands, you can see it is on a raised area, safe from flooding yet very near to the river. I looked on www.LidarFinder and was delighted to see that it showed that the enclosure is clearly circular and indicative of the very early 'lan', or religious enclosure known to have been established by St Crida and her nuns in 450AD.
So, once more I lingered in this stunning place. The natural beauty speaks for itself. The area is peaceful and without human noise. It's easy to step aside and stop, wait, listen and pray. It's also easy to worship. The whole place seems very at ease with itself. Nothing jars. The natural beauty seems to mirror the spiritual beauty of the place saturated in prayer. I stay and pray before turning towards the church and kneeling at the altar. Here I stay a long time, exalting the King above all Kings, lost in timelessness and tranquility. Various times of worship, then prayer seem to alternate and I meet with God. It's different from last time and that is always the way. I never meet God the same way twice. He always comes differently and should I want to replicate an encounter or experience, that will never happen. Today was the weight of the war in Ukraine, the turbulence it has released in the world but also focussing on the reality that God is on His throne. He is still worthy to be praised and He is still Lord of everything. His heart breaks for the pain and turmoil, the evil and the insanity and He asks us to participate in intercession, sharing His grief, praying for His Kingdom to rule earth and not the depravity released currently. His love settles over me and I am aware that He knows, He cares, He cries and He waits for us to respond and to pray. Then He answers.