Camino-de-santiago-pilgrimage The concept of pilgrimage refers to a journey or search of great significance. Adherents of many religions participate in pilgrimages today. Jews go to Jerusalem while Muslims go to Mecca. Christians through the centuries have also at times made pilgrimages to places such as Jerusalem, similar to what the Jews did in Bible times for the great feasts. 

For us who follow Christ today, it is important to realise that there is no particularly holy places or holy sites we need to visit. The earth is the Lord's and his presence is everywhere. He no longer dwells in temples made with hands but rather he dwells in the hearts of his people. He is Immanuel – God with us … right here right now. 

Yet in many ways, our lives as followers of Christ is still a journey. He calls us and we follow. We are pilgrims on this earth, in transit. We look forward to the day when Jesus returns and his kingdom is fully revealed. In the meantime, we seek to bring his kingdom here on earth – his rule and reign in all areas of life. 

In the Psalm 84 David said this … 

How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of Heaven’s Armies. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the LORD. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God! What joy for those who can live in your house, always singing your praises. 

What joy for those whose strength comes from the LORD, who have set their minds (or hearts) on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem. O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies, hear my prayer. Listen, O God of Jacob

Psalm 22 was a song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem …

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.” And now here we are, standing inside your gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a well-built city; its seamless walls cannot be breached. All the tribes of Israel — the LORD’s people — make their pilgrimage here. They come to give thanks to the name of the LORD, as the law requires of Israel

In what ways can we see our life as a pilgrimage today? How can this thinking assist us in our daily living?

For further reading, consider the classic Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan and The Sacred Journey by Phyllis Tickle and Charles Foster. 

3 thoughts on “Ancient Practices (#4b) – Pilgrimage

  1. ”In what ways can we see our life as a pilgrimage today? How can this thinking assist us in our daily living?”

    I guess the pilgrimage factor serves as an antidote to materialism which is probably one of the most rife sins in the modern Western church. The best this world has to offer is only temporary and one day will cease to be. Even on a rational level it makes sense to set our minds on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2).
    Paul puts perspective around this, yet while it’s easy to understand it is strongly resistant by our materialistic proclivities.

    1 Corinthians 7:29-31 What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.

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