Tonight we were wandering past a 400 year old church in the town of Zafra in southern Spain. The church is a massive stone edifice with a large bell tower. It hovers over the town like a silent sentinel – well, not always silent as it rings the hours. The only other building that has stood so long is the Ducal palace. As we walked past on this chilly evening I wondered out loud to my wife what the church had witnessed in its time: the people simply going by on their mules, horses, carts or just by foot, the funerals, weddings and sacred celebrations, the battles like the civil war, the changes in society – it’s attitudes, values and priorities. All the while it has been there – largely unchanged.
We have come to live in a such a quick change throwaway society it is hard to imagine a time when values and traditions were held firmly and changed little over millennia. I am not arguing simply for tradition for traditions sake, and yet, there is a stability missing in our manic society that sorely needs pillars of truth, faith and solid traditions to underpin, or more correctly, replace our modern fragile facade. A facade, that seems to me at least, to be crumbling and unravelling.