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Photo credit:  Jennifer Andrews-Weckerly; reuse with permission only

Sixteen pilgrims from Hickory Neck Church traveled to England for 8 days of pilgrimage.  Our focus was on choral music, hearing Evensong or Choral Mass at a Cathedral, Minster, or college everyday.  This is the sixth entry, initially posted on our church Facebook page.  For those of you who do not follow us on Facebook, I am repeating the journey’s daily entries here.  Enjoy!

Canterbury

When spending over a year planning a pilgrimage for your parish, poring over plans, making amendments to itineraries, and crafting the best spiritual experience you can, you imagine, “There! I have created the perfect pilgrimage experience.” But as soon as you say the words, “I have created,” you have lost. Pilgrimages are not about what I create or even what I plan. Pilgrimages are certainly about working hard – before, during, and after. But pilgrimages are also about making space and then letting God take over.

I was acutely aware of that today. All day I had been internally groaning because we were not going to hear the boys and the men singing at Evensong at Canterbury Cathedral. Instead it would just be the gentlemen. I had really wanted our pilgrims to hear the full sound with the boys, and knowing they would be absent felt like a huge disappointment. But as soon as the men opened their mouths, I was transported to another time – a time when Benedictine monks chanted prayers day after day, hour after hour. The simplicity and beauty of their sound made the enormity of fourteen hundred years of Evensongs unfurl before me, like the wafting of incense before my face, lingering in my hair. Suddenly a multitude of heavenly hosts surrounded me – pilgrims, monks, priests, common Christians, seekers, nonbelievers, the sick, the oppressed – all longing for something, all aching for God. And tonight I remembered, in addition to them, God is right here: always has been and always will be, no matter what plans I have made.

Tonight it is my hope that you can find it in yourself to trust a little less in your own hands and a lot more in the loving embrace of your Savior’s hands. I can’t wait to hear about your disappointment and your overwhelming joy!

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Photo credit:  Jennifer Andrews-Weckerly; reuse with permission only