...with children scampering around in the meadow at Walsingham, and good talks with friends old and new. As we chatted, a bell tinkled, and a small procession, led by an altar-boy with a bell, brought the Blessed Sacrament across the meadow to its safe repose back in the chapel at the shrine. As it passed, people quietly fell silent for a moment and knelt - children kicking a football stopped and dropped reverently to their knees without being told, and bowed their heads, a father gently gathered a toddler close and knelt, some one hurrying on an errand put down a tray and knelt beside it - and so it went on down through the gate and across the lane, the bell ringing out its gentle message, the faithful greeting the Lord as he passed....all in the most natural way in the sunset glow.
Across the wide Norfolk skies aircraft suddenly roar across - old ones with a vaguely WWII look about them. It adds to the sensation of being somehow very much a part of an England where time and history meet... an ancient Saxon shrine dating back to the years just before the Norman Conquest...loud modern music from a group singing "Praise Jesus, the Saviour!"...golden wheat ripening in a nearby field with scarlet poppies...a family talking and laughing together as a child does handstands... and Auntie walking back down the lane to tackle some emails and write up this Blog...
And now I'm sitting here, in the village, by the Church of the Annunciation in the lingering twilight, with cheery talk wafting out from the pub next door, and people saying goodnight as they pass.
The shrine at Walsingham will be one thousand years old in 2061, and the children running about in the field this evening will then be in middle-age, and probably playing a part in marking that great millenium.