The story of a pilgrimage
Words by Superintendent Minister Lyn Burden
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of taking a little ‘stroll’ (400kms) across Northern Spain along the Camino de Santiago de Compestela. It’s a pilgrimage that people have been taking for over a thousand years.
Every day there were challenges, for after all, walking 20kms every day stretches your body’s limits. There were mountains, steep descents, poor weather, blisters, bad food with which to contend, but the idea of doing a pilgrimage is to go on.
Meeting people along the road and engaging with their amazing stories was a highlight. Annabelle was walking with Emily in her heart – Emily has MS; Andres was hoping the pilgrimage would help him to discern whether he should join the priesthood or not; Tony was joining his brother who lives in Spain and they were going to walk together for a couple of weeks.
The Pilgrim menu each night is served with free bread and red wine – every night we enjoyed the joy of breaking bread with strangers and new friends, and on one memorable night we held hands with two French pilgrims we had just met, and said grace together.
For many of the millions of people before us this had been a spiritual pilgrimage, and so it was a particular delight to come upon crosses, labyrinths, small sacred spaces. We didn’t need to ask ‘where was God’, because God was there before us, beside us, beneath us and within us. God seemed to emerge in many ways.
When we were feeling a bit low, especially when it hailed, rained, snowed or in pain from sore feet, people were there to help, in all sorts of ways: offer advice, strap our feet, take time to chat, share their story. The best advice came at one of those times –
“This is a pilgrimage; we carry everything we need;
Like Jesus who had to carry a cross on a pilgrimage we carry our accumulation of life which is a burden, and the pilgrimage helps us to learn humility, patience and adaptability.”
In life we are all pilgrims, journeying through the mountains and valleys of the day, accompanied by God who comes to us in many, sometimes quite surprising ways. God is with you, today and everyday.
Grace, love and peace be with you