By Renaissance Girl
There is a group of about 44 of us, on pilgrimage in Italy right now.
The first full day of our trip was in Barga, the location of the newly opened Mount Tabor Ecumenical Centre for Art and Spirituality. It was a privilege to see this place with the familiar life of the Community lived among the culture and people of Italy. It was like arriving home in the middle of a foreign place.
On the second day, we took the bus to Lucca, and visited five churches in a few short hours. We were returning to Barga when it started to rain. The villa “Via Sacra,” that houses the Centre, is halfway up a hill (and by hill, I mean more like a mountain), and the bus cannot fit up the narrow cobblestone streets. By the time we disembarked it was pouring, the rain creating little rivers among the stones rushing down as we hiked up. Our feeble attempt at utilizing umbrellas was almost laughable against the torrent. We emerged in the villa garden, soaked and stunned by what had become a torrential storm — lightening cracking on all sides and thunder that shook down to your toes. There was a rush of activity as we set down our things and huddled under a large tent in the garden. And then, with the tent overhead, the storm raging, our feet in inches of water, we celebrated Eucharist together — the pilgrims and the villa family. The readings and the prayers were shouted over the crack of thunder, hymns sung with more gusto than we thought possible, and an eagerness as we gathered around the table. It was an unforgettable night, there in the midst of the storm, together with Christ on the mountain.