“His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;” Revelation 1:14
Everything in that paragraph is untrue.
It was in the 11th
Century that the cave in which I was standing was discovered and identified as
the cave in which the revelation of
Nor can anyone demonstrate that the vision was sent to the old saint by God rather than being a chimera emanating from the mind of a senile old man.
Standing in the chapel that has been set up in the cave, I could see the famous fissure in the ceiling and see the rock, on which, it is claimed, John laid his head.
My left brain was hard at work; it’s all rubbish, I thought.
But then …
I had arrived early. Embarrassingly, I walked into the tiny chapel while a Greek Orthodox mass was coming to its end. The light of a few candles, reflected from the burnished gold of ancient icons, cast the cave into amber light and dark shadows. I breathed in air infused with incense. The deep baritone voice of a priest, chanting in Greek, and echoing from every bend in the rock, filled the air with ethereal sound. The priest, himself, was dressed in long white robes and a wide gold belt, over which he wore a surplice of white cotton, soft as gauze and decorated with tiny, brightly coloured embroidered flowers. When he turned, he revealed fiery eyes and a long beard, white like wool, as white as snow.
‘That’s what God must look like,” came the awed whisper from my wife. She really is the World’s least convincing atheist.
My right brain asserted itself. I was in a place that had been the object of sincere faith and veneration for more than a thousand years. That can get to you and it did. I had not been convinced but I had been profoundly moved.
Note: Picture credit ARCHELAOS - Etsy UK
I was travelling with the excellent Noble Caledonia