God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. Genesis 1:31
Yesterday was Sunday, our second day in Assisi. We started by worshiping with the Anglican congregation that meets in a 14th Century building just a few hundred yards from our hotel. I had the surreal sensation of (simultaneously) being an American, singing old hymns from my UK days, taking communion in the heart of ancient Assisi, and listening to the accents of the small group of ex-patriot Brits.
After church – where we enjoyed the warm welcome but were disappointed that nobody served tea – Andrew and I grabbed some fresh sandwiches, a couple of pears and a bottle of wine, and headed up into the mountains with our picnic to enjoy the clear air and spectacular views.
It was maybe 42-degrees, but well worth the chill. Assisi shone like a jewel, clinging to the side of the foothills below us. Umbria offered clear views in every direction and we drank it all in, thankful that the Creator we sang praises to in the morning understood our “Wow!” as clearly as the more nuanced prayers offered by the slightly stuffy cleric at St. Leonard’s.
Later, we parked back at our hotel and climbed several hundred feet to the Castillo overlooking Assisi, then visited the Duomo where St. Francis worshiped in the 13th Century. We logged around ten miles of walking, but every step seemed to produce a new perspective on a magical location I know I’ll be returning to with Rebekah. Assisi is possibly my favorite Italian city so far… but I haven’t made my mind up and am still willing to sample more.
FOOD: I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the food. Simple breads, delicate olive oils, rich sauces, perfect pasta, cheeses that simply don’t exist anywhere else, robust and perfectly balanced table wines, dangerously intoxicating dessert cakes, espresso to punctuate the reluctant end to the feast….
Dinner Sunday evening, then, was a flavorful grounding to a day that soared, spiritually.
I honestly believe that we honor God when we enjoy the gift of life and creation in the context of faith. The Creation story repeats the following statement several times – “And God saw that it was good…”
This world is a spectacular testimony to the imagination and the love of our Creator. I feel so privileged to be here, with Andrew, enjoying this particular corner of the globe. Italy is a unique confluence of scenic majesty, historical riches and compelling story.
I’m looking forward to the next chapter. “Ciao…”
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.