One step between earth and heaven

Shrine

The Romanesque shrine behind the church altar

Thirteen hundred years ago in a remote Welsh valley a young Irish woman, Melangell, protected a frightened hare being hunted by a local chieftain. From this simple compassionate act of protecting a weak and vulnerable small animal there grew a legend and a place of pilgrimage, Pennant Melangell, perhaps the oldest pilgrimage sites in Britain. The shrine lay dormant for several centuries but, with that strange, and needed, revival of holy places in twentieth century Britain it came alive again as a place of healing and prayer.

I recently travelled to the shrine of St Melangell with a friend and each of us, in different ways, felt the presence of the Risen Lord, the comfort of God.

Was it in the natural beauty of the place? Was it through the prayers of St Melangell? Was it in the church where prayer has been found to be valid? Was it in the laying on of hands with prayer? Was it in the hospitality and the making of connections? I can’t be sure, but the mystical holiness of Pennat Melangell both inspired and enriched me, and stays with me (even through a difficult moment with another motorist on the journey home!)

Yew and Lych

The lych gate and ancient Yew tree

A worshipper at St Chrysostom’s described Pennat Melangell in her words, as – “One of my most special places in the whole world!” In the eighteenth century the local priest wrote an englyn, a traditional short Welsh poem, which ends:

Cwm iachus; nid oes i chwi
Ond cam I Ne’ o’n cwm ni.
 
 
 
A healing valley; for you there is not
More than one step between our valley and heaven.
 

From a prayer of Canon Donald Allchin: Here, by her life of prayer and devotion Your servant Melangell created a holy place, a place where prayer has been valid. Here heaven and earth come close together, here the small and the frightened find shelter and hope. Help us to live as she lived responsive to your call, wherever it may lead us in our own perplexing time.

Advertisements

About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community where people of differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2364267899/
This entry was posted in Anglican, Anglo Catholic, Catholic, Christianity, Faith, Prayer, Saints, Spirituality, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to One step between earth and heaven

  1. Pingback: Thin Spots | Brother Bob's Journal

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s