After climbing 21 flights of stairs, ramps and whatever google measures, we arrived somewhat mid-crowd into a bazaar where Jesus might have taken a moment to throw the money chaging rabble off the pinacle of the city. It was a holy site overrun by selfie sticks and trinket peddlars. I took Margaret here based on my fading memory of thirty years ago. I remember walking quietly across a square into a chapel. I was alone in the square with my Jewish friend and we shared conversation about what it would take to give up everything. To live with no attachment.
Entering the chapel with a throng of searching visitors I was struck by two things. First the silence and serenity of the crowd and the select devout individuals praying quietly for some renewed relationship with God. We walked back into the chapel three hours later and those praying were still there but the crowd was gone. There was serenity. The Icons of St Francis were scattered around the village. This one portrays him as alone as he sought to be. His prayers his devotion his commitment. A tribute to his vow.
In a place of serenity we found joy, in a place of devotion we found delight, in a place of crowds we found solitude. In our rushed world we found serenity. Peace that passes understanding. In a quiet moment under rays of blessing sunshine we shared a piece of bread, we shared pasta, we shared delight in being together.
A new blade of steel frames an ancient town site. The past and the present are one in this moment. The light breaks across a city on a hill. A city with story. A city built on self denial. What we do with that idea, that belief? Asking the question might be a good place to start.