“The Stone which the builders rejected has become the chief Cornerstone.” Psalms 118:22
In most respects, I am generally an America-snob. The good old USA provides more than a lifetime of wonder and beauty of God’s creation to explore and appreciate, and I take every opportunity available to do so. However, there have always been a few other countries on my wishlist to visit – but never thought I would have the chance. Recently my youngest daughter asked me if I would accompany her to Ireland, as she was headed there to do some missionary work. Ireland? Really? Oh, twist my arm just a little more! It took me very little time to agree to go with her to visit a place that has long intrigued me. So this post, as well as several subsequent posts, will be about my week-long adventure to the Emerald Isle.
Here in the states our history is relatively short when it comes to exploring our past. Yet in Ireland, the historical record remains evident in the many ruins of castles, forts, abbeys and churches, spanning many hundreds of years. The majority of those structures were built with stones; an abundant building material available across much of the island. There were obviously many skilled stone masons in the days of old that designed and built amazing edifices for protective, religious and memorial purposes. As has been the practice for centuries, each building began with the placement of a carefully selected cornerstone that would provide stability and longevity for the entire project. Yet, over the years, through acts of war and battered by weather, all the structures have deteriorated to varying states of ruin. These master craftsmen did the best job they could, but the fruits of their labor were temporal.
Just as the stone masons of old, we need to carefully select the cornerstone that we fashion our lives around. Worldly objects will only serve as temporary foundations, and will crumble over time. On the other hand, we can choose Christ as the Cornerstone to our lives. Building our lives around Him provides an us an eternal future in a mansion within His kingdom. This future is evidenced in Ephesians 2:19-22; “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”
During our Irish adventure, we visited a number of castles and religious sites. The slideshow below includes Dunguiare Castle, Bunratty Castle and the Macroom Castle, most of which have been at least partially restored. We also spent some time at Quin Abbey (which was really a friary) and then I took a trip down to Cobh Harbor on the south coast where I found the relatively new St Coleman’s Cathedral.
Upcoming posts will share some views of the Irish countryside, experiences driving on the wrong – I mean left – side of the road, and some of the foliage and wildlife of the country.
As a child and through much of my life I remember truly experiencing and appreciating the natural beauty of wildlife, flowers and landscapes given to us by our Creator. Somewhere along the way, despite living in the nation’s most scenic state – Montana, I nearly lost my ability to appreciate the scenic beauty all around me. Perhaps is was the mad rush of a hectic work schedule. Maybe simple complacency because I saw it everyday. Whatever the reason, it seemed that I traveled the countryside with blinders on, only focused on the destination.
A couple years ago, after many years of being chided for not having any hobbies, I purchased a digital SLR camera. At the time I didn’t really have a particular subject in mind that I intended to shoot, but a number of years earlier I was mildly enthused with photography and thought this might be something I would enjoy again. At the time I had no idea what I was getting into!
Some of my first shots were of the family pets; dogs, cats, chickens, goats, deer,…okay, they’re not normal pets for most people, but for us they are as normal as the sun rising in the east.