Magical skyline

The day is ending and I just had to say what an amazing place Santiago de Compostela is. After giving an interview to a journalist from a Spanish religious magazine about what an Anglican was doing at Compostela, I decided to take a walk around the Cathedral and the historic part of the city.

There were no queues to get in, no queues to climb to embrace the Apostle, no queues to go into the crypt and pray before the casket containing the bones of St James. It felt as if I had the place to myself. It was a really wonderful, calming experience.

The towers of the cathedral

The towers of the cathedral

Outside a busker was playing. It was a tune I knew well from Holy Week at Southwark. In one of our retreat ‘strands’, Canon Stephen Hance had been taking us through the Blues and Gospel music to hear echoes of the Passion. But he ended with a piece that was not, in some senses, at all Lenten, well not as far as the chorus was concerned. It was ‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen. We had watched a video of the great man singing it.

As I stood looking up at the west front of the Cathedral, the magical skyline of this little bit of heaven on earth, this glorious gateway that draws the world in, the music echoed the song of my heart.

One stanza spoke to me

Maybe I’ve been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
And love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and its a broken hallelujah.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah.

Our desire is that all who walk this floor may know the Lord, who knows them and loves them. With that love you never live alone and the skyline of life is forever of God.

May the Lord grant us a quiet night
and a perfect end.