"All of us are pilgrims on this earth; I have even heard people say that the earth itself is a pilgrim in the heavens." Maxim Gorky
I am steeped in the words of pilgrims these days. I may have mentioned that we have chosen the theme "Passport for Pilgrims" for Lent this year. So I find myself reading, thinking, and planning around the idea of what it means to be a pilgrim of life’s journey. It is a rich and fascinating concept and I am energized by it.
When we truly think about it, aren’t we all pilgrims of one kind or another? Traveling along,sometimes with a plan or a map but mostly taking the journey as it comes. Hopefully, from a faith perspective, we are pilgrims, setting out each day with the intention of ‘running into God’ along the way or having God ‘run into us.’.
One aspect of being a pilgrim is a desire to grow and deepen who we are and what we know about ourselves, the world, the sacred. This comes through both intention and gift, sometimes called serendipity. Sometimes called grace. But first there is setting the intention: "Today as I walk in the world I pray I will see the Holy in a new way." Not like I did yesterday or even last year after a mountain top experience, but a ‘new’ way. That is growth, that is depth.
Too often we want to keep our faith right where it is. We want to keep our experience of worship, of prayer, of service, exactly as it has always been. Safe. Sure. Comfortable. When that is our intention, most of God gets shoved into a box of our own creation. When we read the scriptures in the same way we always have, we negate the living nature of those powerful words. We put ourselves in a box of our own making with no room to grow or deepen.
Several weeks ago I placed three paper white bulbs in a small bowl with stones and water. Over the last several weeks one bulb has grown about 8 inches, green stalks reaching toward the sun. One of the other bulbs has now grown about 3 inches of green. The third bulb has just finally begun to show about a half inch of growth. Same bowl, same stones, same water, same light. Different roots.The one with the longest roots has of course grown the most.
How are you nurturing your ‘pilgrim’ roots? As Lent approaches next week, I invite you to think about how you might set an intention to grow and deepen your spiritual life. Let’s think outside the box, shall we?
"Unlike mere travel, a pilgrimage is a journey into the
landscape of the soul." Vivienne Hull