Each week you will find “Pilgrim Practices” for you to do on your own, as well as with your family:
- A simple family Advent practice to enrich your seasonal journey
- A pilgrim’s engagement with our greater community focusing on your “outer” journey,
- A specific pilgrim prayer practice focusing on your “inner” journey.
- You will be invited to engage with an Advent Scripture either through imaginative listening or reading the text on your own
What do Advent and “pilgrimage” have to do with one another? Isn’t Advent about waiting and pilgrimage about moving?
However, historically, Advent is less about waiting for Christmas and more about locating ourselves on the cosmic map of salvation’s story, and a pilgrimage always begins by locating ourself (both on the inside as well as the outside) in relation to our current location…and to where we hope to end up.
Advent 2020 finds all of us in strange territory. It has been a crazy and disorienting year. In January, what had seemed like a clear enough path through the year ahead, turned into a confusing labyrinth fraught with disappointments and unexpected blessings. Connections with family and friends have been unsettled, personal and world-wide financial uncertainty continues to loom, and what’s the deal with no flour on supermarket shelves? I don’t know about you, but I feel like I am living on a kind of hinge between what I use to know, and what I do not yet know…but that is Advent’s exact location.
As an added encouragement to join us, Julia Carpenter, a CKPC member who has pilgrimaged the Camino de Santiago, will be sharing some of her “pilgrim’s wisdom” with us as we journey to, and through, Advent together.
Fleming Rutledge (my new favorite woman preacher) writes about Advent’s location “the mystery of the Advent season lies precisely in its location placed as it is between the now of human failure and disappointment, and the not-yet of God’s coming kingdom.”
Pilgrimage, also, begins by taking some time to look around and notice where we are. Many of the maps in shopping malls or on park trails will have a big red arrow pointing to a specific place on the map with the bold words YOU ARE HERE. This obvious designation can be a life-saver when we find ourself in confusing and unfamiliar territory.
And just as helpful as a YOU ARE HERE sign is for our outer journey, so also, is an intentional practice of personal reflection which can help create a spiritual map to guide and direct us on our inner journey. To be a pilgrim means to attend to our inward journey alongside giving attention to our outward journey. A pilgrimage is as much about “being” in one spot, as it is about “going” to another.
And so, during the weeks of Advent, you are invited to join a communal, as well as personal, “pilgrimage” to the manger and beyond.
 Fleming Rutledge, Advent: the Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ, pg. 366
Becce Bettridge will be writing the blogs, devotionals, and spiritual practices for this Advent Pilgrimage experience. Becce has been a spiritual direction practitioner since 2009, and is the Co-director for Christian Formation and Direction Ministry’s (CFDM) Spiritual Director training program based in Seattle. Initially trained and certified through the Benedictines from the Monastery of the Risen Christ in Santa Barbara, California, she received additional certification through CFDM. Becce holds a BA in Communication and Literature, and a Masters of Biblical Studies. Prior to her work as a spiritual director, Becce served Presbyterians for Renewal as the national director for the Network of Presbyterian Women in Leadership by mentoring, training, and providing ways to connect women clergy and women lay leaders in the PCUSA. She continues to speak, teach, and write curriculum on the topic of spiritual formation. Very high on her “bucket list” is a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago.