As the restoration work progressed, one day I found that all the little shops at Saint Pancras had disappeared; no more pilgrimages to the saint’s ikon for me! I hope the good Greek cooks found somewhere else to feed hungry passers-by and passengers.
Now their archway is a door, leading to where? Home, for the night, via one of the 270 stations on the Underground? East Kent or the East Midlands? The Continent on Eurostar? Is this, as Chris will soon have us consider in one of his posts, the start or the final destination of our journey?
Are we going home for a hug? To read a bedtime story, to share a meal, to relax on the sofa together? Maybe to care for a sick child, parent or spouse; to an atmosphere of tension and worry; to a single, lonely room?
We need food for the journey. Although the good people who worked beneath the ikon of St Pancras have gone, there are other food ‘outlets’ on the station, less homely, and without a prayer behind the counter. And yet; we do not live on bread alone, but on every word from the mouth of God: there is nothing to stop a traveller being a pilgrim in his or her own mind and heart, wherever their current destination, and often a verse lodges in the inner ear and feeds the heart as the eye scans the countryside or the black walls of the tube. Listen to that ear-worm: Oh that today you would listen to my voice!