“We are pilgrims on a journey. We are travelers on the road. We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.” – “Servant Song”, Verse 2
I’ve never made an intentional pilgrimage before, but in some faiths you are expected to make a pilgrimage. People of Islam are expected to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, many Roman Catholics make the pilgrimage to Rome or some go on the Compostella de Santiago in Spain. The closest thing I’ve come to doing a physical pilgrimage would be the mission trip I took to Merida, Mexico or when Kristen and I moved from our home state of Virginia to Columbus, OH for seminary. Even that, some folks would say, doesn’t count!
A pilgrimage is simply a journey or a search of moral or religious significance so says Wikipedia. If you’ve ever read the book or watched the movie Eat, Pray, Love – you could call that both a moral and religious journey. In 2017, many Protestants are going on a pilgrimage to Germany to celebrate the anniversary of the Reformation. While I would love to lead such a trip, that will not be this year for us. I would encourage us to think about this concept of pilgrimage as we enter into the Lenten Season on March 1. As pilgrims, we’re travelers and sojourners who are searching for God all along the journey. That’s exactly what Lent is about. Lent takes us on a journey of epic religious significance as we journey to the cross where Jesus makes real God’s love, mercy, forgiveness, and salvation for us and the world.
I encourage us to be pilgrims together this year. Take up a practice for Lent- welcome the stranger, give alms (i.e. money to the poor- collect some money for persons with disabilities for Samaritas or Beacon Specialized Living, or We Care, or the Baby Pantry or Foster Care Ministry we run), pray (use the Lord’s Prayer or a devotional book, or the devotional on our church app) or fast, do works of love (people like to do the pay-it-forward thing during Lent – pay for someone’s meal behind you at a fast food place, buy someone’s coffee, or look elsewhere in this newsletter for another practice you might be involved in!). Whatever you do, do it also while worshipping with this community of faith as we share this road together. Lent strengthens us for Easter and helps us realize what the resurrection means as we continue to ponder who God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are for us.