Tomorrow, I will help lead sixteen pilgrims on a journey through England. There have been countless details to coordinate, communication to send, logistics to handle back home, and preparations for the team’s spiritual guidance. Over a year of planning will come to fruition once we step on that plane, and I cannot be more excited to see what is in store for each person’s spiritual journey.
Many people have asked me why we would go on a pilgrimage. The truth is, there is no simple answer, and each person goes for their own reason. Perhaps at the heart of the reason is to forge a deep connection to God. For some, that connection is enriched with beautiful architecture, sacred art, and beautiful, holy music, all of which can be found in minsters, cathedrals, and colleges on our journey. For others, simply getting out of their routine, going to a foreign place, and taking on the ritual of walking, meditating, listening, and praying is how they enliven that connection. For others, relationship is their mode of connecting to God – relationship with team members, relationship to other pilgrims and Christians along the way, and relationship with our spiritual ancestors, who built these sacred spaces centuries ago. We go on pilgrimage to know God, to walk with Jesus, to be fed by the Holy Spirit. Many of us even go having no idea what to expect, but longing for something deep and abiding.
But we go not just to fill our own spirits – we go to bring back those renewed spirits. We go so we can share our journey with others. We go so we can come back better servants of the Good News. We go so our faith community is richer as a body. We go on pilgrimage for all of us. I invite your prayers for those who go this week. But I also invite your prayers for your own spiritual journey. May your week be enlivened, refreshed, and renewed as we walk together.
Please enjoy this poem found in Ian Bradley’s Pilgrimage: A Spiritual and Cultural Journey. Our team has used it in our own preparations, and would like to gift it to you.
To the Pilgrim
You were born for the road.
You have a meeting to keep.
Where? With whom?
Perhaps with yourself.
Your steps will be your words –
The road your song,
The weariness your prayers.
And at the end
Your silence will speak to you.
Alone, or with others –
But get out of yourself!
You have created rivals –
You will find companions.
You envisaged enemies –
You will find brothers and sisters.
Your head does not know
Where your feet are leading your heart.
You were born for the road –
The pilgrim’s road.
Someone is coming to meet you –
Is seeking you
In the shine at the end of the road –
In the shine at the depths of your heart.
He is your peace.
He is your joy!
God already walks with you!