Walking a Book
Sarah and I are blessed to be living for the moment in one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland – West Cork. We’re planning to make the most of this and complete St. Finbarr’s Pilgrimage (a 37km, two-day walk from Drimoleague to Gugane Barra by way of Kealkill) this summer. The Pilgrimage is a combination of five smaller walks contained in the book “A Guide to the Sheep’s Head Way – Eastern Routes” produced in 2009 by David Ross and the Drimolegue Heritage Walkways Committee. We tried out the first one of those walks yesterday – The Drimoleague Heritage Loop a beautiful 3.5km walk around Drimoleague, full of history and the legacy of people who have lived in and loved the area.
The Loop takes you up from the old former railway station in Drimoleague to the Top of The Rock, then takes you along fields and a beautiful riverside walk dotted with signs containing poetry and Scripture and benches commemorating the people who loved this place, then it’s back through farmland and the town of Drimoleague to the place where you started. The book was a wonderful companion to the walk telling us the stories of the land and its people and making the journey rich with life and history, even though Sarah and I were walking alone.
Of course a book like this one cannot be just read. However without this book Sarah and I wouldn’t have even known about the walk, nor would our experience of the walk have been as full of meaning and depth and enjoyment. The two went hand in hand, the book and the walk, one enhancing and interpreting and bringing to life the other. The book was brought to life by walking and the walk was given life as we read.
This is the story of my life following Jesus, a life where I am constantly being drawn to (or drawn back to) the word of God. God’s word will not let me stay with my head in a book, filled with theology (and believe me, I am very tempted to settle for the head-in-the-Book life at times) it pushes me out into the world which was created by God’s words, the story that he has written. God’s Book forces me to walk the pilgrimage it describes, to see for myself how it is true, how I can depend on Him and how beautiful and full of wonder this world is. The Book demands a walk and the walk is guided and brought to life by the Book.
David Ross, a farmer and one of the authors of “A Guide to the Sheep’s Head Way – Eastern Routes” is also the pastor of Bantry Christian Fellowship, a lovely church where I have had the blessing of preaching God’s word. At one stage on our walk Sarah and I discovered that we had missed one thing that we wanted to see – a well, known as “The Christening Well”, we decided to backtrack for a little bit and I said that we should ask David about it some time. A car pulled up.
I find in my life pilgrimage, when I admit that it is God that I need, the Author of the Book shows up.