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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 seventh 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!

London – Westminster Abbey/St. Paul’s Cathedral

Today’s journey highlighted a truth about our spiritual lives in general. One of the tricky dynamics of being a pilgrim in cathedrals, minsters, and colleges is you need a guide to teach you and create a depth of learning and growth. What the naked eye sees only gets you so far. Then you need someone who can explain how many years worship has happened there, why you are only one pilgrim in centuries of pilgrims, and how our history informs our present. Our guides are not just historical guides; they are spiritual guides too.

But the other part of pilgrimage is experience. No three hour lecture can replace the experience of staring at beautiful arches, stained glass windows, modern art, or a flickering prayer candle. No amount of talking can help you hear God more than just sitting and listening. No lesson on the historical period of a composer can help you hear the intricacies of Evensong that can sometimes take your breath away. Sometimes pilgrimage is about making space to hear and feel God in profound ways – in ways that are hard to access in the hubbub of everyday life.

Today was such a day. The morning was full of kings, queens, murder, theft, and a lot of royal history as it relates to the faith. This afternoon was about making room for God. And Evensong was a breath of fresh air – with sounds of comfort, of embracing gentleness, of the maternal nature of God. Today was about finding a spiritual guide and then letting go in order to meet God on your own.

Where are you on your journey? Do you need a guide, or perhaps a faith community, to start enriching your spiritual life? Or do you need to let go of learning for a time and simply bring yourself to God’s house for either new connections to Christ, or to recall richer spiritual times, waiting for enlightenment? I can’t wait to hear about your pilgrimage!

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