I open my door to find a few chocolate eggs waiting for me. Those dear little heroes...
A last-minute worship time organized this morning for the students somehow escaped my notice...I came down for breakfast as everyone headed into our meeting room. All the better to walk alone to the Waldensian church, I thought, and take in the beauty in solitude--a rare commodity these days. The lambs were out, the dogwood in bloom, a stiff wind blowing, and a strong sun beautifying the colors and land. I didn't want to miss Easter with the Waldensians--the weather was now warm enough to use the temple (rather than the tiny, overheated annex we've been gathering in). And the chorale, which practices all year for Christmas and Easter, was reported to be stellar.
Over the threshold, "Worship God, and serve him only..." welcomed us. Inside, over an imposing
pulpit suspended high up the cavernous mini-cathedral, "Dio E Amor" was written. As the pastor climbed up into that pulpit, I truly had the sense of stepping back in time--the preacher high above the rest of us, intoning a lengthy sermon, with a chorale singing as only a European chorale can, acoustics to die for, voices the only instruments, in perfect pitch.
Communion: one approached the altar in groups of 3-4, where 3 (including the pastor) served the elements. As each group took communion, the pastor gave a personal blessing (wish I knew what he had said to me!).
I was far too visually stimulated to concentrate on understanding the sermon, although my Italian is progressing enough to get the gist usually. I did get the announcement, however, of our group animating the service next Sunday! Friendly, smiling nods all around...it will truly be an event for all of us! I wonder who's translating...
A walk back to the village square always includes a cappuccino now at Silvano's, the friendly owner of La Fontano Cafe, whose wife also attends the church, and whose daughter is an artist. I am to meet some of our tribe there, and discuss dreams and visions of the future!
On the way back to Forterocca, we run into the cutest little lamb and baby goat, who immediately capture about another 45 min. of our time, which is good. Lunch is not for another hour, and although cappuccino has filled us up, we are eager for our various mountain walks in this gorgeous day. The lamb and goat follow us home, making adorable baby animal noises, to the delight of the students lounging on the front lawn or terrace.
My after-lunch walk took me up the mountain to a Waldensian monument, with a stunning overlook of the valley, duly sketched into my sketchbook. A flock of sheep graze with their shepherd, who greets us, and we flop on the grass to take in the view. An elderly lady from the town passes me by on the pathway and comments on the beauty of the day, and compliments me on my drawing. A few minutes later, her husband, the retired Waldensian pastor goes by, a cluster of wildflowers in his hands.
The rain clouds are approaching, with a cold wind, so we head back in time for dinner. It's asimple meal, and eyelids are all droopy after long hikes around the mountains. Several are still missing...
Games are organized--my cue to disappear for the evening--another rare commodity. Another chance to reflect, contemplate, read and write. The history of the Waldensians continues to compel and inspire, and wonder again what exactly God has in store for this valley, and what part we play. In the meantime, it's one foot in front of the other, on into Week 8 of the School, and whatever history we are walking into.