Monday, 15 October 2012

Touching A Mother's Heart

 While we were away we set out from the ship,
 away from the port of Kushadasi, 
and up into the hills not far from the coast.

We were on a planned visit 
to the site of the ancient city of Ephesus,
but our tour guide had another stop scheduled
 before our original destination.

Fortunately we were the first tour bus of the day,
 and swooping down to rest 
near the entrance of Meryem ana
for a short while our sole companions were the staff, 
and Turkish soldiers guarding the quiet olive groves.
 I don't know how I could have been unaware of the site 
of Mary's House. 
 Usually I pre-empt the joy of travelling 
with copious reading  and researching,
 but this time I just hadn't had the time, 
and was enjoying the unexpected.

Our guide was a young Turkish/Jew, 
and a gifted communicator as well as an archaeologist, 
so we were doubly blessed as he prepared us 
with the history of the site.

 He began with Jesus, from the cross,
 gifting His mother into the safe keeping of John,
the beloved disciple.

He brought home the tenderness of the relationship
 by underlining how inconceivable it was
 for John ever to been parted from Mary from that day. 
 So it is believed that when John came to Turkey,
 Mary too made her temporary home in these hills. 

Of course there are many "sites" 
connected with many historical and religious persons 
scattered all over the globe
 and even as he filled us in with the details, (see http://en.wikipedia.orgwiki/House_of_the_Virgin_Mary)
I confess to a certain cynicism.

How then can I explain the profound effect upon the party as we walked through the cool shade of the silent trees 
and into this little house.
 The house itself consists only of one small room
 and a further tiny room to the side.

Before we entered we were told that 
only silence was permitted, 
and our guide spoke to us about the opportunity to bless others 
who needed prayer by the lighting of a candle or two,
 and leaving a written prayer too,
 should we so choose, 
amongst the garlands of prayers which festooned the walls outside.
 There was blessed water piped from the spring to be drunk as well.

Now, bear in mind that we were a coach load of tourists,
 fresh from a cruise ship fetching up,
 mostly unprepared for a visit to place such as this.
I know there were many in tears, and that the silence was deep, and full, and absolute.

In those few unexpected moments
 a mystery had stirred. 
There are no words
for such matters of hope,
and of faith,
and of a mother's heart.

Be Blessed

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