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Pilgrim Steps

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  • The spiritual practice of interior and exterior “letting go.”

  • A Family Advent Activity

  • Journey into our Community

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Do you ever wonder about those “Wisemen” who traveled from “the East” to worship the infant Jesus? You remember…the guys who noticed a particular star in the heavens and knew that its appearance meant a new king had been, or was about to be, born somewhere near Jerusalem. Given this awareness, they packed up, got on their camels (supposedly), and traveled in search of this new king in order to worship him. We know what happened when they arrived with their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but what about their journey?

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How far was it and what hardships did they encounter on the road?

We know they saw the star in the “East,” but what made them decide to take on the arduous journey? How long did it take?

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What hope kept them going when the going got rough? We know they brought expensive gifts, but what else did they pack? How did they decide what they would need to take with them?

CKPC member, Julia Carpenter, has learned what it means to pack for a long pilgrimage. She writes of her journey on the Camino de Santiago:

[/vc_column_text][vc_message message_box_style=”outline” message_box_color=”sky” icon_fontawesome=”fas fa-quote-left”]The first year, my packing was too much, I packed like a Marine, which proved a disaster, and we failed. At 7:30 a.m., on the day that would have gotten us to Santiago, Caitlin (my daughter and fellow pilgrim) got up, took Motrin, hobbled 500 ft, and could not walk another step.  Caitlin’s blisters were unbearable, as were mine.  Four days unbearable.  I called the game. One more day’s walk and we would have made it, but we couldn’t go a step further.  We cried and consoled each other with the promise that we would be back again…and since then, we have completed the pilgrimage, together, three more times. These experiences bind us together, mother and daughter, but that particular experience of trying to carry too much became a very clear example, to both of us, of how failure can bring great rewards.

Packing [for the Camino] is always a spiritual exercise for me.  If wisdom prevails, I accept a temporary vow of poverty while packing. Unlike Marines, pilgrims boast about how light their packs are.  I weigh each item on an actual scale, but also weigh its heaviness on my life.  If I don’t need it for the next 30 days, why do I have it all? Does it help me, or complicate things by having it? Is there an undue emotional attachment that keeps this thing in my drawer?

No to the stove-top espresso maker, yes to perfume, no to a sleeping bag, no to make-up, no to cell phones, yes to a few bandages, no to every first aid item I might ever need, no to a ‘nice outfit,’ yes to an extra pair of wool socks, and so on… During this process, the anticipation of the pilgrimage really turns into a physical pull.

CKPC Member Julia Carpenter


As you pilgrimage through these next few weeks of Advent, take time to ponder what you are lugging around. Freedom to carry less is both an exterior and interior invitation.

There is a scene in John Bunyan’s 1675 A.D. allegory Pilgrim’s Progress which speaks to our life-long journey:

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Now I [John Bunyan] saw in my dream, that the highway up which CHRISTIAN [the pilgrim] was to go was fenced on either side with a wall; and that wall was called ‘Salvation.’ Up this way, therefore, did burdened CHRISTIAN run; but not without great difficulty, because of the load on his back. He ran thus till he came at a place somewhat ascending; and upon that place stood a Cross, and a little below, in the bottom, a sepulcher. So I saw in my dream, that just as CHRISTIAN came up to the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began to tumble; and so continued to do till it came to the mouth of the sepulcher, where it fell in, and I saw it no more. Then was CHRISTIAN glad and lightsome, and said, with a merry heart, “He hath given me rest by his sorrow, And life by his death”

Then CHRISTIAN stood still awhile to look and wonder; for it was very surprising to him, that the sight of the cross should thus ease him of his burden. He looked therefore, and looked again, even till the springs that were in his head sent the waters down his cheeks.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”2598″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”custom_link” img_link_target=”_blank” css_animation=”fadeInDown” css=”.vc_custom_1604958061125{border-radius: 10px !important;}” link=”https://www.christianbook.com/pilgrims-progress-john-bunyan/9780802456540/pd/56548?event=ESRCQ”][vc_column_text css_animation=”fadeInUp” css=”.vc_custom_1604953577106{background-color: #b5a67c !important;border-radius: 10px !important;}”]

God is not the goal of our life journey, but the home from which we start, the pathway upon which we walk, and the place of welcome at the end.

(adapted from a quote by David Lonsdale)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_cta h2=”This Week’s Scripture: Matthew 2:1-12″ h4=”Listen with your imagination to the story of the Magi.” txt_align=”center” style=”flat” color=”vista-blue” add_button=”bottom” btn_title=”Listen Here” btn_size=”lg” btn_align=”center” btn_link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fckpc.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2020%2F11%2FWeek-2.m4a|target:_blank”][/vc_cta][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator style=”shadow” border_width=”10″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Follow the link to participate in this week’s “Pilgrim Steps”:


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