Never Mind The Wine

I went to church today…in Assisi. It is one of only two
Anglican churches in Umbria, Italy, and this one has only been
going for a year now.

I am the churchwarden. I, for my sins, was standing a little
too close to the minister when he was looking for a volunteer.

After the service we had a lunch together in a superb local
restaurant, about twelve of us, and over the lunch we discussed
the quality of the communion wine. It was not as good as we
normally have and there were a few complaints, especially from
our minister.

It was…alright, but just not as good as usual.

I explained that it was left in the bottle from last time and
had probably gone off a bit. I had taken along a new unopened
bottle of Vinto Santo, the Italian equivalent of sherry, but
decided not to use it as the other wine seemed drinkable.

I apologized to the group for my decision. Then I said, “Hey,
exactly what are we complaining about here? It is not the
quality of the wine that counts, but surely the quality of the
prayer that goes with it!”

There was a deathly silence. “Of course!” said everyone at
once, “We have all completely missed the point!”

Our church is VERY beautiful. It is one of the most beautiful
churches in Assisi, and they don’t come much more beautiful…
anywhere! It is also extremely difficult to get to as, unless
you actually live in Assisi, you can’t just drive straight in.
The police stop you. You have to park way outside and walk.

My 86-year-old mother-in-law comes with us and I have to get
special permission from the police each time to drop her at the
church door, but then I have to drive out, park, and walk all
the way back in.

After the service I have to walk all the way back out, get the
car, convince the policeman that I am going to get my mother-in-
law from church, drive in, and drive back out again.

We were very lucky to get the use of the church. The Roman
Catholic bishop of Assisi had to give his special permission for
us Anglicans to use it. It has the most wonderful frescoes,
a wonderful hall with the most wonderful terrace with the most
wonderful view.

However, nobody needs to give us permission to pray;
nobody needs frescoes to pray,
and we often lose sight of the really important things.

The difficulty of getting to this church makes it even more
important to me to make the effort to be there.

Never mind the wine;
never mind the frescoes;
never mind the walk…

~A MountainWings Original by subscriber Graham Lane, Italy~

In case you didn’t know (I didn’t), a fresco is a painting but not
a normal painting that you hang on the wall, but the painting of
pictures on the wall itself. They are therefore immovable and
often hundreds of years old, needing special care to preserve
them for future generations to see.

Click below to see one of the frescoes in the church.


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