Would you rather be a tourist . . .or a pilgrim?

Staff_Delony, LenWho are you? And who are we as a church…a community? What is God calling us to do and, just as important, how is God calling us to be?

These are core questions that need time for deep prayer and reflection. But too often we get caught up in the multitasking, busy-ness of our culture. If we are going to dig a deep foundation for faith, we must pay attention to how we are being all along the way.

During Lent this year we went on a journey together as a church. We slowed down enough to name some of our brokenness, and in the process discovered many ways that we are being healed and made whole. But for this journey of finding “strength in the broken places” to continue (drawing on the title of one of the Lenten book study groups that continued meeting past Easter), we need to ask a crucial question of ourselves:

Am I a Tourist or a Pilgrim on this life journey? Do I feel called to let my faith lead me on a pilgrimage into a new way of living and being… truly awakening and knowing with heart connections where home really is.? Or do I prefer the easiest and shortest way, and live as a tourist… looking for convenience and distractions… even settling for numbness to avoid pain?

Jesus showed us the way through our pain and brokenness to new and transformed life… It’s never easy, but if we follow the way of a growing trust and love and discipline (point of Tim’s last sermon) we can support one another as the Body of Christ.

At the beginning of Lent, many of us read together in the tradition of Lectio Divina (Sacred Reading) the following prayer / poem Tourist or Pilgrim. It’s a good one to revisit periodically as we journey together through all the seasons…

  • Tourist or Pilgrim? I stand on the edge of myself and wonder,
  • Where is home? Oh, where is the place where beauty will last?
  • When will I be safe? where? My tourist heart is wearing me out, I am so tired of seeking for treasures that tarnish.
  • How much longer? Oh, which way is home? My luggage is heavy. It is weighing me down. I am hungry for the holy ground of home.

Then suddenly, overpowering me with the truth, a voice within me gentles me, and says:

  • There is a power in you, a truth in you that has not yet been tapped.
  • You are blinded with a blindness that is deep for you have not loved the pilgrim in you yet.
  • There is a road that runs straight through your heart.
  • Walk on it.

To be a pilgrim means to be on the move, slowly to notice your luggage become lighter, to be seeking for treasures that do not rust, to be comfortable with your heart’s questions, to be moving toward the holy ground of home with empty hands and bare feet.

And yet, you cannot reach that home until you’ve loved the pilgrim in you. One must be comfortable with pilgrimhood before one’s feet can touch the homeland.

Do you want to go home? There is a road that runs straight through your heart,

Walk on it.

“Tourist or Pilgrim?” by Macrina Wiederkehr, Seasons on the Heart: Prayers and Reflections, ©1991, pp. 184-185.

 

 

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