Friday, December 02, 2005

Day 10: The Bodleian Library.

posted the following day

Today, I visited Oxford University’s famous Bodleian Library. I started at the old Divinity School room where Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley were examined. (Read “show trial.”)

While waiting for a tour, I walked across Radcliffe Square to the University Church and again contemplated and touched where Cranmer confessed the Faith before being led off to be burned. I was deeply moved again. But then I remembered he was cheerful as he was led to his martyrdom, so I thought, “Enough of that.”

Incidentally, the spire of the University Church is big and scary. Oh, and the crowned statue of Mary over the High Street door was used against Archbishop Laud in his trial. It seems all sorts of Anglicans get in trouble there. Maybe I should steer clear of the place.

Back at the Divinity School, I spent a lot of time looking at the amazing 15th century fan vaulted ceiling. It’s a design that is close to unique. (By the way, after I get back, I think I’m going to break down and create a picture site and show you some of these things.)

And I bought this excellent book on illuminated Bibles in the store there. A few weeks ago, I’m not sure I could tell anyone what an illuminated book was. But prompted by the Cambridge Illuminations exhibition, I now find the subject fascinating, especially with Christian books.

The tour itself was a treat. Of course, we saw shelves upon shelves of oldddd books. I don’t know why that makes my jaw drop, but it does. Annnd we went into the Radcliffe Camera, which most of the public doesn’t get to do. It’s a spectacular building, but sure doesn’t use space efficiently. Those Victorians!

The way my schedule and the chapels’ schedule has worked out, I’ve gone to the evening service at Magdalen every night but one. But that may be providential. Tonight, I was blown away. Their services really put the awe and peace and joy of God into me.

I used to think it a waste of time and very Cafflick to go to services everyday. I still think that can become a trap of substituting services for other things God would have us do. But my visit to England is very much reinforcing my understanding of those who do like to go to services everyday. For at least three weeks, I’m one of them.


If you ever visit Oxford and manage to avoid 1. stepping on a burial site and 2. walking into a bicycle, let me know. Graves and bicycles are everywhere here.

Here, I’ve used an umbrella for the first time in many years. . . . And I’ve used it quite a bit.

England is the only place I’ve been where it regularly gets colder in the afternoon.

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