We are now living in the southern region of France called Languedoc. This past weekend, we spent Ascension Day with new friends, retired missionaries to Liberia. On Friday we had a grand meal together, and then on Saturday they invited us to join them on a hike into the mountains near the town of Anduze to search for "dolmens'. I had no idea of what dolmens were until a young woman explained to us that they were ancient burial sites made of stones in circular arrangements, usually with a large flat stone in the center over the grave. We came across 6 or 7 of these dolmens, perched on the crest of a mountain ridge (maybe the height of Montecito Peak 3,900 ft). Here, ancient peoples buried their heroic dead near to the divine, high up on wind-swept ridges. This probably happened before Christ, but shows a hunger and search for the holy with high places.
The second thing we encountered was a "minher" or a raised stone object. These were clearly prehistoric structures of anamistic worship, not unlike Ba'al asherah and fertility poles. This pictured minher was in a park surrounded by a suburban subdivision.
What intrigues me so much about this region of France is the multi-layered history that extends into human prehistory. This coming week we will be heading out to some of the Romanesque churches to review aspects of their architecture that speak of the sacred.
A question I am mulling over is: how do you know you are in a sacred space? What must be present for you to encounter the sacred God and Father of Jesus Christ? What helps your encouunter with the sacred and what inhibits it?
I hope to get to a wi-fi hotel in Ales each week to update and respond to comments and emails. If I seem slower than normal...I guess I am.