The more I think about The Burren the more fascinated I become with it.
In 1651-52, Edmund Ludlow wrote that The Burren
“…is a country where there is not enough water to drown a man, wood enough to hang one, nor earth enough to bury him…… and yet their cattle are very fat; for the grass growing in turfs of earth, of two or three foot square, that lie between the rocks, which are of limestone, is very sweet and nourishing.”
And that is the amazing thing. Despite it being a rocky place there is an incredible diversity of plant life and wildlife living between the rocks in crevices and cracks and all over the place.
Species that would normally not grow together grow together. Plants that are more at home in the Arctic , Alpine regions or Mediterranean call The Burren home. Crevices provide shelter, retain moisture and the rocks act like a giant storage heater (according to knowledge picked up from watching a little bit of Coast),
I’ll have to explore it more sometime.
Meanwhile I was thinking this morning in church that it felt a bit like The Burren. Over on the other side of Galway Bay Arctic plants grow alongside Mediterranean plants and Alpine plants while over here we have Malaysian, South Korean, Hungarian, Cameroonian, Zimbabwean, Tongan, Nigerian, Irish, British, American,Madagascan, Indian, Ghanian, Swiss, Congolese Brazilian, Turkish, Spanish, German, Dutch, French exotics passing through for a day and others for a few months or others living and rooted.
I was thinking that church is a bit like a crack in the rocky ground, a place of shelter, warmth and moisture where the Kingdom of God can grow even if we can’t really explain or know what is going on half the time, or most of the time.
When I stood on The Burren the other day maybe something in me was reminded of the prophecy in Isaiah when the lion lies down with the lamb and nature is in harmony, things that don’t normally grow together in health and peace do.
And I felt the same this morning in church. People who don’t normally grow together trying to grow together despite our failings. This week The Burren and our church seemed to be hints of the way things should really be.