Bonfires – and its not even Guy Fawkes Night!!

 

 

Well, it was lovely with all the snow and it could have been Christmas as we saw people walking up the hills with candles.

 

It reminded me of Guy Fawkes Day (for those who are not from UK you need  to go to Wikipedia!!). But it was not November – it was February 16th. Mmmm! Why bonfires and candles in February?

Ok for those who have followed my blog over the past couple of years you should be able to answer this question – I have written about this amazing event already in glowing terms – if you will pardon the pun! It was the celebration of the day that the Waldensian believers received their freedom of religious practice and expression (although limited) a few years after the unification of Italy. This time was a bit special as I was with a group of young artists who have arrived from all over the globe to be with us in Forterocca to discover how the Lord wants to use them to change the world.

We had fun as we walked up the hill to find a great crowd of people gathered around the fire. We looked around the valley and we could see many small bonfires being lit just as they were almost 150years ago – to declare the liberty to proclaim the gospel. They remembered those who had been martyred to attain this liberty of religious expression which we take so much for granted in Europe. They sang powerful songs with powerful words reminding themselves that those who had given their lives for this freedom did so not as heroes but as simple servants and disciples of Jesus Christ and they did it willingly.

I watched as the young artists who had only arrived that day drunk the atmosphere in even though they did not have the language. It gave them notice that this place is somewhere the Lord has been and the blood of the martyrs still is powerful. It is widely said that the Waldensian Church has lost its way (in much the same way as people talk about the Anglican Church), however what we witnessed was a reminder to them and also to us, of what it means to follow Jesus. A reminder of their motto – The light shines in the darkness’. A reminder of what it costs to follow Jesus but an even greater reminder of what it cost Jesus for to be able to follow Him – the cross!

Truly a  night to remember!

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