Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sydney to Eden

One foot in Eden still, I stand
and look across the other land... 
— Edwin Muir

I miscalculated: to-day was my longest drive of all, nearly 500 km, when I'd thought it to be only 400.  I didn't reach Bega till nightfall, and then in Eden I had a devil of a job to find my accommodation, since Google Maps, God bless it, got the location wrong, and the establishment's signage was unilluminated owing to an electrical fault.

This Thursday began very early, arising at 6 am no less in order to drive through a surprisingly quiet and beautiful early morning Sydney to 6.45 am Mass at the Cathedral.  It was impressive how many workers evidently begin each day in so devout a manner, God reward them.

St Mary's Cathedral in the early morning sunlight

And the ibises (a signature bird of Sydney), noisily nesting in the palms

After returning for breakfast, marvelling at what a lovely day it was, I left my friends' place and paid a visit to St Brendan's, the church nearby, to say Prime and Terce before travelling.

St Brendan's, Annandale

It is amusing how to the north and south of Sydney, the road must cut through the solid rock of forested wilderness to reach the next port of call, and likewise to the east must climb right over the Blue Mountains...

Wollongong I reached a bit before midday: then on, and on, and on, till Eden at last.

Lunch in Wollongong, by the way, was Vietnamese: a good bowl of pho (soup).  On a whim I dumped in all the chillies so thoughtfully provided (waste not, want less), and it grew fearsomely hot!  Also, I'd ordered the "special" beef pho – "special" turned out to mean, containing meatballs and... tripe.

While looking unsuccessfully around Wollongong for the Catholic Cathedral, I did drive past the Anglican one (twice), and was shocked by the bizarre notice in front of it, indicative of the infection of ultra-Low-Church Sydneysiders (the Anglican bishop being one of them): rather than listing "Mass" times, or "Holy Communion", or "Eucharist", or "Mattins", or "Evensong", or "Worship", or "Divine Service", it listed – get this – the times for "Public Christian Meetings"!

Public Christian Meetings.  So that is what the Sydney Evangelicals call Sunday service.  It certainly isn't true worship, they got that right.

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