At the church where my spouse is the sabbatical minister, they are “on a journey”. In fact, as I write this a contingent of the congregation is walking from Judson Memorial to Calvary, its founding church, to join their morning worship.
Meanwhile, their regular pastor and family are travelling for this three-month period, at the end of which many of the congregation will converge on the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. (A place, incidentally, that should on everyone’s trip literary.)
The congregation has designated this venture Judson’s Year of Pilgrimage. It is an attempt to “move” which, “in our planning and learning about pilgrimage, two elements have surfaced that differentiate a pilgrimage from other kinds of travel: intention and difficulty.”
For me, the key word is “intentional” for, after all, all of life is a journey. What the term pilgrimage implies is that sometimes we move in different direction which, when one stops to think about it, can be very smart. An anonymous proverb puts it this way “No matter how far down the wrong road you have gone, turn back.”
When this temporary stint is over, we will do exactly that. Don’t put too much of a point on the word “wrong” but obviously we are now off on a completely different road, one with a hopeful horizon but clearly filled, as all journeys are, with unexpected turns.
As we go, the preacher of whom I speak and I ask for what is the title of Anne Lamott’s meaningful book, Traveling Mercies. Simply hope for us what has brought us this far, God’s grace.