The adventure begins and I have to say it was with a fair few butterflies in my stomach that I set off from home just after lunch to drive up the motorway to Carlisle.
I was grateful for the prayers said over me in the morning by some of my St Denys family. It was all very moving and they reassured me that they would be thinking of me and praying for me every step of the way. It was good to be reminded again of our unity, however far apart we are. In fact, as one of my churchwardens quoted from a CMS missionary, the prayers being said in one part of the world are like the roots of the tree enabling the branches in another part of the world to grow and reach out. Prayer has a vital part to play.
And that has been so evident in the responses to the horrific attack in Manchester this week. Prayers have been said all over the world for those whose lives have been turned upside down. I stopped at Tebay for some food at around 5.30pm just as hundreds were gathering with my colleague Liz Wilson in Town Hall Square in Leicester to stand in solidarity and prayer with those in Manchester. I said a prayer too as I looked out on the most beautiful scene and wondered how a world that holds such beauty can also hold such pain and cruelty.
I have no answer but I do believe that the heart of God breaks with love for those who are suffering and that the amazing love and warmth and generosity of the world in response to the events in Manchester is an echo of His love.
And so I will keep praying because I believe it makes a difference. That’s why its so important to me to begin my #walk4andy tomorrow with prayers at the Cathedral here in Carlisle, even if I do have to join them at an unearthly hour of the morning for them!