Faith, Francis, and Fresh air: Assisi in November

Rome – The Colosseum our first day

ovember 11 exactly one year ago I hopped a flight to Rome, where I was met by our son, Andrew. We then enjoyed twelve epic “father and son” days together. After a few hours in “The Eternal City,” we spent two-plus days exploring Assisi before turning our attention to the region surrounding Andrew’s home in Tuscany.

Andrew now lives in the Veneto province of Italy (he is, incidentally, in Slovenia this weekend). He’s had the travel bug ever since he was old enough to enjoy reading an encyclopedia, and – with the added imagination and love for adventure of his fiance, Alicia – there’s no telling what region of what country will be called “home” after next summer’s wedding.

St. Francis back in my study

ASSISI: The weekend we were in Assisi Andrew and I made our way to two houses of worship. First, we visited the shrine of St. Francis, where I prayed for my brother, Geoff. I lit a candle in his name and prayed that his journey home would be defined by peace and blessings. Then we joined with an Anglican congregation for Sunday morning worship.

But it was Sunday afternoon, climbing the mountain above the city, where I connected most profoundly with the eternal. It was cold – around 40-degrees, the wind was blowing, and the air was clear and fresh.

chilling above Assisi

BREATH OF HEAVEN: Talk about refreshing! I’d just left the torpid humidity of Florida, and in the high places above Assisi I felt as if the very breath of heaven was reaching inside and filling me with renewal and life.

Sometime’s, that’s the way a great morning at church can feel to me. I honestly wake up every Sunday with a tingling of anticipation and promise. It’s what I’ll be looking for during today’s Praise Service at 8:30. And I’m much more likely to find such a blessing because I’ll be walking in already owning that kind of expectation; it’s rooted in my ongoing, day-to-day experience of God’s mercy and grace.

I’ll see you in church – DEREK

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