Greetings from Northern Ireland. I’m having the time of my life out here and only wish all of you at Crew were here to see the majestic creation that our God has fashioned for the purpose of our enjoyment.
As I sit here typing, I am behind a computer screen behind a window behind a wall behind the northern shore of Northern Ireland, gazing out at the Atlantic ocean as it crashes against the rocks on the shore in front of a castle. The air here is crisp and fresh with that familiar oceanside smell that we all know all to well. Countless books and poems could be written of the beauty you can see in one moment here, but God has given me the fortune of spending 10 days in this beautiful land. I’ve been here for just over a week now and my breath is still taken away at the views to be seen around each corner.
We’ve been all over the island since our arrival, my father, mother, brother, sister-in-law and I. I’ve walked the remains of Dunluce Castle, where a cliffside landslide pulled the kitchen into the sea and killed two dozen in the 1100’s, causing the griefstricken family to desert the land. I’ve crossed Carrick-a-rede bridge, which is a rope structure binding two rocky bodies of land in order to allow the fishermen a spot to catch fresh fish in the bay. I’ve braved the Giant’s Causeway, where, as lore has it, the giant Finn McCool carved hexagonal stones to use as a stepping path to reach a taunting Scottish giant across the sea. I’ve explored the Guinness Storehouse at St. James’ Gate where Arthur Guinness signed the longest lease in history, gaining control of the Dublin building for 9,000 years for the sum of £45 (now $90) a year. I’ve thrown down pints at the Temple Bar where U2 have recorded numerous live performances of their songs in their home city of Dublin. I’ve walked the Long Hall of Trinity College, below which the Book of Kells, the first illuminated manuscript dating back to 800 a.d. is kept. I’ve prayed in Christ Church while listening to a choir sing Amazing Grace, echoing through the measureless height between the floor and the ceiling. I’ve strained my neck to take in the sights of Westminster Abbey, where numerous historical figures are laying in rest in the ground. I’ve seen Chelsea FC’s football stadium, where my favorite EPL soccer team battle it out on the pitch week after week in season.
I’ve done quite a bit since I’ve been here, and I have cherished and treasured every minute of it. And what I’ve learned is this: there is much to be said of simplicity and much to be said of intricacy, but the measure in which we show that which is important to us needs to be checked. In Portballintrae, Northern Ireland, the sheep and cows are the lawnmowers, and dark green hedges are all that separate the vast expanses of rolling green hills. In Dublin, Ireland, though there are over 1,000 pubs, the most elaborate buildings are those dedicated to the worship and study of God. Small, simple houses. Big, elaborate churches. We are small, simple people who worship a big, elaborate and holy God, and I needed to see that.
Pictures are at my facebook if you’d like to see my travels thusfar. I arrive back late Saturday night and am so excited to see you all on Sunday morning.