its been another full day here in beautiful england, if a bit emotionally exhausting. we started with a bang. well, bangers, actually, which are sausages. the hot breakfasts here consist of bacon (which is really what we might call fried ham), sausages, eggs, some kind of baked beans, mushrooms and hash brown potatoes. i've been enjoying it thoroughly. shannon has been opting for healthier choices like fruit and english muffins. i say, when in britain...
from the bangers we jumped in the coach (we were strictly warned not to call it a bus!), and headed for a small town called "great barr" outside of birmingham. great barr was the home of one francis asbury, a man who wesley ordained and appointed to spread methodism in the new world (america). asbury was very dedicated in this task, and his success matched his dedication, at least in retrospect. when you picture the circuit rider on his horse, riding from state to state to spread the gospel, preaching several times a day, sleeping in barns or on the side of the road, you are often thinking of francis asbury who gave us this image. we got to see his home as a boy, and hear more about the story of his calling and his willingness to respond.
from there we traveled to warwick, a beautiful old town here with an ancient castle called warwick (say: warrick) castle. we got to go inside it, and it is cool because it is very well-preserved both from its medieval origins, as well as its more recent manifestations (a place of great nobility and celebrity, so to speak, in the 19th century). it was gorgeous. shannon and i climbed the 530 steps to the top of the ramparts and got to walk between the tops of the towers, looking down over the river avon, and the city of warwick. the sense of history you feel in such a place is stunning...centuries upon centuries of stories and lives all gathered in the stony corners and buried in the green, green fields. it all makes you feel at once so small and so blessed to be a part of it all. there is a great story going on, it would seem, that we are privileged to be a part of!
shannon and i left the castle and walked to town in warwick to grab a lunch of sandwiches on baguettes, which were very tasty. we then traveled on to coventry, a large town that made a name for itself in industrialization, but most famous, perhaps, because of the beating it took from the germans during world war ii. in one of those assualts, the cathedral was hit by firebombs, and the wooden roof was burnt, and much of the building was destroyed, even though the walls remained standing. after determining to build a new cathedral next door, they committed to making a house of worship that would dramatically make the point that out of brokenness comes new life: resurrection! what a beautiful and stunning building they built, which looks out upon the ruins of the old cathedral, a constant reminder of the cost of hate and violence, and the overcoming power of love and peace. i was, and continue to be, very moved by the whole experience.
before we returned home for the evening, we stopped to see a statue of lady godiva, the woman who rode naked on horseback through the town of coventry to make a point to her husband. she made her point, and remains naked on horseback even today in the town square of coventry! it was a bit of comic relief to end a very emotionally charged day.
that's it for tonight. i've had a bit of a swim in the hotel pool, and i'm ready for a good night's sleep soon. see you back here tomorrow!