It can be challenging tracking down where certain events took place and also the driving can be challenging too, but the views in the mountains – the only challenge there is to keep one’s eyes on the road while taking in the view!
One of the clues as to the position of the massacre is a ridge called the Barranco de los Muertos. In typical fashion the Muslims had grouped together to avoid slaughter, forced conversions or exile in the interior mountainous regions. The initial unsuccessful attempt was from Segorbe in the South but the forces were repelled. Then an army was assembled from the north at Onda and advanced on Alcudia de Veo and then beyond. This was a European army, with the backing of king and pope and viewed as a crusade. ‘All eyes in Europe’ were on this crusade and when eventually they were brutally vanquished it was proclaimed that finally all European territory was free of Muslims.
With a bottle of wine in hand Gayle and I drove as close to the area of the final bloodshed and found a place to pull off the road. Pouring wine on the ground (blood speaks, but the blood of Jesus speaks louder and calls for reconciliation now and eschatologically) we spoke forgiveness to the region.
Years ago I would have wanted to be able to defend such actions and prove that they make a vital difference. Now I hope I am less defensive and simply accept that they do. If the giving of a cup of cold water can seemingly make a record that is assessed in the age to come then I think pouring out wine symbolically probably does so too.
PS to Xativa / Alcala
After we visited Xativa and the day before we visited Alcala our friend Noe had a visit to his house at 10.00pm. It was a mechanic that he has both used to service his car and has befriended. The mechanic was coming on behalf of the Iman from the local mosque, asking if Noe would take part in a TV program from Moroccan TV on the relationship of Muslims and Christians in Spain! Noe was unable to take part, but the main pastor of the church took his place. The venue chosen was the church building and the backdrop the director wanted was the dove on the wall with the ‘Come Holy Spirit’ enscribed on it. Fernando was able to be both clear and reconciliatory, with one of the key people asking for him to pray for him after the recording.
Would that have happened if we had not gone to Xativa or pursued what God has put in our path? Was it a coincidence? Thankfully we will never be able to prove it one way or another. But it is so sweet when such coincidences happen after prayer – and they do seem to happen quite regularly. So here is to sweet regular coincidences!!