No, I’m not off to Graceland, or Jerusalem or on walkabout in Australia. And no, I’m not off to “find myself” as we used to say in the 60’s and 70’s. I remember my grandfather saying, “if he ‘finds himself’ tell him to give himself a kick in the butt and get back here!”
But I am on a pilgrimage.
According to the dictionary, a pilgrimage is “a journey to a holy place for religious reasons”.
A few hundred years ago there were celtic monks called “peregrinatio pro Christi” which means wanderer for Christ. They wandered and traveled and prayed and sought, found and brought God in the world around them.
I love that name, “wanderer for Christ”. I identify with it. My journey with Jesus has been in so many settings — mission projects, business, college, youth ministry, 24-7 prayer, discipleship pastoring, speaking, standup, blogging, using and encouraging creative ideas in ministry…but then I realize a lot of us must identify with that!
We wander, like my blog title says “wandering prayer”, in our faith life. Prayer and being disciples of Jesus is such a journey. It has a beginning and a long wander as we travel to eternity!
In his book, The Path of Celtic Prayer , Calvin Miller says, “the pilgrimage is the prayer. The peregrini weren’t going somewhere to pray, they were praying as they went, wherever they went. They were pilgrims without a shrine. Life wasn’t a destination. Life was the journey.”
Excellent book on Celtic Christian spirituality, I highly recommend it.
I believe as Christ followers we are all on a pilgrimage or journey in our lives. Oh, we are heading toward our final destination in heaven but the journey isn’t just about the destination. God is all around us, His Spirit is moving in our lives and the world around us. He is making holy the things that we see everyday. He surprises us in day-to-day things. So, as our journey or pilgrimage through life continues we find the journey is not just about the destination.
The journey is not just about the destination. It’s about how you get there.
On a pilgrimage, we walk in the company of God. He is not absent or waiting for us at some divine resting place. God is with us.
Remember Jesus, His very name, Emmanuel means “God with us”. I remember not long ago driving at 4:30 am. I don’t usually drive anywhere at that hour. But it was an amazing time to be driving. The world looks different. (no, not just more sleepy) There’s a quiet, a waiting, a pensive feel to the sky. As if the one day has ended and the world is waiting patiently for the next one to begin. And the presence of God is very very strong.
And as God walks with us on our pilgrimage so does the Son and the Holy Spirit. Look at Jesus’ words quoted in John chapter 8,
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Jesus talks of our constant, living, breathing, journeying state as being with Him and having His light in us. The journey is the thing. This week I’m praying for greater awareness of the value and wonder and surprises of the journey. For knowing God’s presence moment by moment.
It’s worth asking ourselves, how can I make our journey more God aware, more significant than a hurried inattentive commute?