Pilgrim Steps

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  • Family Advent Activity

  • Journey into our Community Activity

  • Prayer of Examen

This fall, I (Becce) have been hiking the North Kitsap Heritage Park trail system. Each time I walk one of those lovely wooded paths, I mark it off on my map. The next time I hike there, I choose a new trail. One of the things I appreciate about this trail system are the well-marked paths; at any given time, I know just where I am…and I find comfort in knowing my location.

Advent is about knowing where we are on God’s cosmic map of history.

Fleming Rutledge writes, “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”[1]

Maps are helpful when we want to know where we are, but they are also helpful in guiding us to our final destination. The daily life of a Christian pilgrim lies on the road between the now and the not-yet.

I am not in control.
I am not in a hurry.
I walk in faith and hope.
I greet everyone with peace
I bring back only what God gives me.

The Pilgrim’s Credo

The Bible understands our human life on earth to be one, long, pilgrimage. Early Christians were called, “People of the Way.”

The work of the Christian pilgrim is twofold: to stay attuned to the inner and outer landscape of the present moment, while at the same time keeping their inner ear of faith attentive to the whispering call and direction of the Holy Spirit. “Your own ears will hear the voice of the Lord right behind you saying, ‘This is the way you should go’” Isaiah 30:21

A pilgrimage often takes us along unfamiliar paths. To become a pilgrim means to be willing to embark on an intentional journey into unknowing and discomfort so that we can experience spiritual growth in Christ.

One of the first invitations into unknowing (and yes, discomfort) is the invitation to give up our preconceived ideas of what our life-path should look like. Being a Christian pilgrim means being willing, on a daily basis, to put one foot in front of another, not knowing where the road might take us, but trusting our companion, Jesus, understands our path perfectly.

As we begin a New Year with all the uncertainties of our current situation, I pray that your Advent Pilgrimage has given you a new way to walk your spiritual journey. That is, no matter where your life’s path takes you, what hills you have to climb, what valley you must travers, you have the assurance that God is pilgrimaging with you. For sure, we will always be pilgrims, but we are never alone, never abandoned, always walking toward the day when God welcomes us home.

[1] Advent: the Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ, 366.

I met an elderly man at the end of the Camino (Finisterre). Caitlin and I had made it to the Atlantic, the end of the road. The old man looked weather-worn, but tough. He said he was ‘something past seventy.’  I asked him how far he had walked and he said, in French, ‘I live in Bordeaux.  I left from my front door five months ago.’  When I asked what he would do now that he was finished, he said ‘I will walk back home.’  He was dedicating his life to being a pilgrim. I understood then that being a pilgrim is a way to worship, to live, to be. It is a struggle to mesh the lessons I learned on The Way once I’m back home, but that became my hope. It was then that I knew, I will always be a pilgrim. I hope to go back until I can no longer walk.

CKPC Member Julia Carpenter, a Camino pilgrim

This Week's Scripture: Hebrews 11:8-12

Listen with your imagination to part of Abraham and Sarah’s pilgrimage of faith.