David Gardiner reflected on an article that he wrote back in 1995, which took a look (with a certain amount of humour) at his thoughts on the church of the future … given the year that we have experienced he was not far off the mark!
Reflection of the Week - 22 September 2020
Posted in Faith
We are a pilgrim people
In the midst of a busy time of work and caring for others I have had the opportunity this last week to join a virtual pilgrimage of the Saint Hildegard Way: a Pilgrimage in the land of Hildegard. Hildegard of Bingen was a prolific twelfth century writer of Christian theology, music, of the natural world and of a sustainable relationship with our environment.
A pilgrimage is a journey, a journey to a holy place — a place where saints have walked, a place where God has met people and blessed them. Pilgrimage is an opportunity to travel lightly, to walk free of daily routines, to meet people, to make friends, to enjoy and celebrate God’s creation.
From friends who have embarked on pilgrimages in recent years I have learned some things about being a pilgrim.
- Strategic planning is required to identify the purpose of the pilgrimage and what needs to be taken on the journey. A pilgrim typically carries all that they need with them so some things they thought were essential must be left behind
- A pilgrim faces many unknowns – where will they find sustenance and shelter each day? Who will they meet along the way?
- On the way some items or ideas might need to be left behind at different places because they have become a burden – and new things picked up
- A pilgrim might ask – ‘do I really need that spare blanket, or might a coat that someone else has left behind be useful as the weather becomes cooler?’
- As Christian pilgrims we know God is with us as we journey to the place God is calling us.
The Uniting Church Basis of Union states in Paragraph 3:
‘The Church lives between the time of Christ’s death and resurrection and the final consummation of all things which Christ will bring; the Church is a pilgrim people, always on the way towards a promised goal; here the Church does not have a continuing city but seeks one to come. On the way Christ feeds the Church with Word and Sacraments, and it has the gift of the Spirit in order that it may not lose the way.’
Who are we called to be in this place, in this time in history?
What is needed to sustain us on the journey? What do we need as individuals and as a church to journey into our new unknown?
Prayer of Thomas Merton
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and will never leave me to face my perils alone.
More from Faith
Jesus invites himself to my house because, as he said in Luke 19:10, ‘the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.’
What do I make of Jesus’ instructions regarding responsible stewardship? I meet my obligations. I pay my taxes, and pay for my utilities by the due date. I place my tithed offering in the collection plate each Sunday. I wonder what else I should be doing?