13 August 2010

Pilgrimage? To where?

Have you ever undertaken a trip that could be labelled apilgrimage?

While we often associate a religious agenda to a pilgrimage, spirituality can be expressed in returning to a childhood home or to a final resting place of ancestors.

A pilgrimage might be in following the footsteps of a famous explorer or hero, a saint or artist. I remember visiting old haunts of literary figures in Ireland and England. I have photos of myself in front of David Livingstone's statue at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

When in Chennai, India a few years ago, a friend asked if I'd like to stop in at the big beautiful cathedral there as it was on our way. I readily agreed, only to discover upon arrival that it is reported to be the burial place of Thomas, the doubting apostle. The burial places of saints are common destinations for pilgrimages. Here I was on an entirely different mission yet had stumbled upon a landmark many people never reach.

Another friend of mine is soon to go
to Mt. Athos in Greece. It is rare opportunity and he is preparing by reading the lives of those associated with the monastery there.

Consider the meaningful people or events in your life. What would you consider a pilgrimage?

More than a trip to the Cadbury factory in Dunedin or the home of Dr Pepper in Waco, Texas, the meaning may be as much in the journey as it is in the destination. The trip, and the sacrifice that might be involved to make such a journey, will connect with something in your heart and will stir emotions you may or may not understand.

Where might you go? What might you seek? What might such a pilgrimage do in you?

1 comment:

Tash McGill said...

I pilgrimage often. It used to be that I made pilgrimages to an old campsite in Cambridge where it seemed God walked on the earth beside the lake. But I also made s pilgrimage to Detroit once to a concert of a favourite artist. It was a spiritual experience - as was the Greyhound bus trip home. I think the definition of pilgrimage for me is 'journey that I make intentionally letting my soul breathe and find sacred spaces - whether music, nature, art or people'.