|Father Laurence and Father Justin meeting at St Catherine's`|
In exactly a week's time, Father Justin, a Texan born Greek Orthodox Monk from Sinai will be getting off a train at St Neots station where we will meet him. I have never had a Greek Orthodox Monk to stay before and at the same time, the baby who once slept in a space ship incubator and was so tiny, she could fit in your pocket, will be staying here. What will she make of a tall, thin saintly man with twinkling eyes, all dressed in black with a long long beard and his long hair tied in a pony tail and what will he, fresh from Sinai, what will he be thinking of us! I look round the kitchen all full of photographs, pots of spoons and jars of marmalade. There are books and felt tip pens waiting for that small child to draw her circles and lines making birds and fishes, giving them eyes and naming them, bird and fish and then handing us the pen to do the same. Will he join in that game? He can't be used to small children curious about everything and she won't have seen anyone looking like him. I know why he's here, he is coming to give two talks in London and to have a day in Cambridge with us beforehand but she will just see a new person in Granny's kitchen. She won't be interested in his spiritual message, just whether he can draw a bird.
|Will she ask him to follow her into the garden?|
And what will he make of us, of the countryside, wintery now and so English, different to Sinai where the desert yields a little green in the garden of the Monastery and deep water has made an oasis with peach and almond trees, dates and a few vegetables. Will he borrow some wellington boots and stride alongside us walking the dogs round the fields? Will he be happy here? You can come and meet him too. If you live in London you can listen to him talk on November 28th at St Martin-in-the-Fields at 10.00 am. He will be part of a programme where he and a Benedictine Monk, Father Laurence Freeman tell us about the mystical tradition of both Eastern and Western Christianity. This event is free and open to all but if you live in another country you can hear Father Justin speaking the same evening via live stream. If you register for this by clicking on this link, I will send you the access information a few days beforehand. And I will tell you after all the talks are over and Father Justin has gone back to his desert Monastery, how he and baby Bea and the dogs got on in the kitchen of our house! And there may even be a photo of them all together.
|St Catherine's Monastery right under the God trodden Mount Sinai|