I started writing this blog entry over a week ago. At the time I was writing about how hard it is to have all of my memories and experiences from the trip bottled up with no real outlet to share them. But I have decided to scrap that and just share one of these memories instead of complaining about how I can’t.
I had almost forgotten about our visit to the Pantheon. So many things had happened almost every day on our European tour, our days in Rome were no different. We saw the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Vatican, Trevi Fountain; you name it we saw it on our Roman Holiday. There was, however, something a little different about our visit to the Pantheon. The Pantheon was once a temple to the many Roman deities but was later re-appropriated as a Christian Church. Today it is a spectacular architectural landmark and stop on every Roman tourists’ agenda but I would not say it is a particularly spiritual place. In keeping with a bit of a St. Stephen’s University tradition we changed that.
Standing in a circle in the middle of the magnificently domed room we started to sing the doxology, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow…” In the noisy din of a huge space filled with people we made a little holy space, a “thin place”. It felt rebellious and right at the same time. We stopped being tourists for a moment and we were pilgrims, we were on a journey to somewhere. The journey I took through Europe was both physical and personal. This is a memory I will treasure and I am so glad to have shared it with others. I look forward to more memories, like this one, popping up in my mind and I look forward to unpacking in the months to come how I have been impacted by what I have seen and experienced.