Monday, December 20, 2010

Cave Crawling

We headed back to the van, to drive over stunning mountainside roads to the caves. Forbidden to worship, or even listen to worship, the Waldensians met in caves to do so. We walked, then climbed down a mountain side, imagining the congregation walking along this same path, ever vigilant for the armies sent to annihilate them. The men would have stood on guard outside a cave’s entrance, while the women and children worshiped inside

After a short walk, Iz pointed her flashlight into a little hole in the side of a rock, site of a Waldensian cave church. In we went—stooping, bending, and finally climbing on all fours to get under an overhanging rock. We stood up in a cramped, dank space between huge boulders, a beam of light illuminating the space from overhead. This cave, no doubt chosen for that beam of light, by which the preacher could read the Scriptures, proved fatal: armies found the Waldnesians worshiping, sealed off the entrance, and threw burning logs down the hole. The congregation died of suffocation.

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