On pilgrimage


From my book shelf  …  links included below
 
 

Quotable quotes and a prayer from the To be a pilgrim workshop I led in Geneva recently.

 

People of all faiths seem to recognize pilgrimage as an essential spiritual practice. In researching WHY this should be the case, there seems to be very little complex theological reasoning involved. Pilgrimage, it seems … has to be walked, and experienced.
 
Some walk to escape, others walk towards. Some walk in companionship, others alone. Some always have an eye on a destination, others live for a far horizon. … We are all of us, sojourners. A long way from home.

 

For pilgrimage to be real it has to be a moving experience in more than simply a physical sense. … We do not merely clock up places we have been to and sights we have seen: we are also on a journey of being, an inward journey which cannot be easily catalogued or grasped but is a great adventure nonetheless.
~ David Adam, The Awesome Journey, p. 1

 

We recognise that we journey in hope; our travelling will be accompanied and celebratory; we pilgrim to Christ and to redemption in him; we will challenge each other in our discipleship and spiritual nurturing to press on with perseverance; we will learn from the wisdom of brothers and sisters down the ages and across all human divides.

 

On the journey of faith
Far I have come, far I must go.

 


A Pilgrim’s Prayer

Christ our Guide,
stay with us on our pilgrimage through life:
      when we falter, encourage us
      when we stumble, steady us
      and when we have fallen, pick us up.
Help us to become, step by step,
      more truly ourselves,
and remind us
      that you have travelled this way before us.
Amen

 
~ by Angela Ashwin, from The Book of a Thousand Prayers, #167
 


 
Book list
Finding our way again  by Brian McLaren
We make the road by walking  by Brian D. McLaren
A Pilgrim Way  by Ray Simpson
Pilgrimage of a soul  by Phileena Heuertz
The Awesome Journey  by David Adam
Ancient Paths  by David Robinson

In the school of prayer with Pádraig Ó Tuama


(Photo: Irene Bom)
 
 

From 2014 to 2019, Irish poet, Pádraig Ó Tuama, led the Corrymeela Community, Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation organisation.

Drawing on the spiritual practices of the community, in 2017 he published Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community. Here are some excerpts on prayer from the Foreword, and a prayer celebrating the gentle gifts of morning.


Prayer is …

Prayer is a small fire lit to keep cold hands warm. Prayer is a practice that flourishes both with faith and doubt. Prayer is asking, and prayer is sitting. Prayer is the breath. Prayer is not an answer, always, because not all questions can be answered. (p. xi)

No prayer is perfect. There is no system of prayer that is the best. … Henri Nouwen said that the only way to pray is to pray; the only way to try is to try. So the only way to pray well is to pray regularly enough that it becomes a practice of encounter. (p. xii)

We turn to prayer in days of joy, and days where our world shows – again – that it is wrapped in the circle of conflict. We turn to form, we turn to old words because sometimes it is old words that hold the deepest comfort and the deepest challenge. … in a time of trauma, God is given a name by the traumatized. In a time of joy, God is named by the joy of our hearts. In a time of confession, God is named as light. In a time of rest, God is the soft dark that enfolds us. (p. xix)

Prayer, like poetry – like breath, like our own names – has a fundamental rhythm in our bodies. It changes, it adapts, … it sings, it swears, it is syncopated by the rhythm under the rhythm, the love underneath the love, the rhyme underneath the rhyme, the name underneath the name, the welcome underneath the welcome, the prayer beneath the prayer. (p. xx)

The world is big, and wide, and wild and wonderful and wicked, and our lives are murky, magnificent, malleable and full of meaning. Oremus*. Let us pray. (p. xx)

 
*Oremus: Latin for ‘Let us pray’
 

from Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community
by Pádraig Ó Tuama, p. ix-xx
 


A liturgy of the morning

On the first morning God said: ‘Let there be birds.’ And God separated voice from voice; and in some voices, God put a song, and the song sang to the land, and to the light, and to the light on the land, and when the people heard it, the morning had begun. The first morning.
And God said that it was Good.

On the second morning God said, ‘There will be dreams from the night that will need the light of the morning.’ And so God put wisdom in the early hours. The second morning .
And God said that it was Good.

And on the third morning, God said: ‘Let there be a certain kind of light that can only be seen in the morning.’ And God created gold, and dew, and horizons, and hills in the distance, and faces that look different in the light of the morning, and things that look different in the light of the morning. The third morning.
And God said that it was Good.

And on the fourth morning, God said, ‘Sometimes the day will be long. Let there be warmth in the morning, let people sleep for some mornings, and let the rest of the morning be good.’ The fourth morning.
And God said that it was Good.

And on the fifth morning, God said: ‘There will be people who will rise early every morning, whose day will begin in the night, by the light of moon and stars; they will see the sun rise, these early risers.’ And God put a softness at the heart of the dawn. The fifth morning.
And God said that it was Good.

And on the sixth morning, God listened. And there were people working, and people struggling to get out of bed, and there were people making love and people making sandwiches. There were people dreading the day, and people glad that the night was over. And God hoped that they’d survive. And God shone light, and made clouds, and rain, and rainbows, and toast, and coffee, places to love the light and places to hide from the light. Small corners to accompany the lonely, the joyous, the needy and the needed. The sixth morning.
And God said that it was Good.

And on the last morning, God rested. And the rest was good. The rest was very good.
And God said that it was very Good.

 
from Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community
by Pádraig Ó Tuama, p. 65-6
 


Digging deeper …

 


 
From the blog
Prayer sheet: Called into community
In the school of prayer with the Celtic Saints
To Emmaus and back
 

Desert wisdom


Angel in the window  (Photo: Margriet van Overbeeke)

 
A gem from the Desert Fathers and Mothers:

“Better to have short times of prayer than long times, because in the long times you get distracted anyway!”

 
 
source: https://stillpointsa.org.au
 


 
Digging deeper
Understanding desert monasticism

From the blog
Wilderness encouragement
Testing ground
 

Baby steps


Markthal, Rotterdam  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

“Baby steps build the
  strongest foundations.”

(Michelle Ward, life coach)

 
 

Call to Worship for [the start of] Advent

[also for the middle of Advent]

 
What will set us journeying in search of the Christ this Advent?
How far are we prepared to go out of our way
to look for the signs of His coming,
and to prepare a path?

How will we travel through this season?
Will we be burdened by responsibilities and tasks,
loaded with others’ expectations, overwhelmed by their needs?
Will we be full of joy or weary of grief?

What will guide our steps in these weeks?
Will we follow a thread of longing,
the hint of an alternative pathway,
the words and music of the gathered community?

Sisters and brothers in Christ, Advent awaits us.
Let us place our feet on the road and begin the journey.
May we find in familiar words, rituals and customs
the birth of the new thing that awaits us.

 
written by Ann Siddall, and posted on the Stillpoint Spirituality Centre and Faith Community website.
 


 
From the blog
See also the series of posts with a journey theme from August 2017.

Nature bringing joy


O rhubarb red!  O joy!

 

For this post I’ve plundered a post from brainpickings.org entitled “Nature and the Serious Business of Joy” featuring quotes by British naturalist and environmental writer Michael McCarthy.

“There can be occasions when we suddenly and involuntarily find ourselves loving the natural world with a startling intensity, in a burst of emotion which we may not fully understand, and the only word that seems to me to be appropriate for this feeling is joy.”

 

“The natural world is not separate from us, it is part of us. It is as much a part of us as our capacity for language; we are bonded to it still, however hard it may be to perceive the union in the tumult of modern urban life. Yet the union can be found, the union of ourselves and nature, in the joy which nature can spark and fire in us.”

 

I commend the whole article to you for more quotes and reflections.
 
Also check out Krista Tippett’s On Being conversation with Michael McCarthy.
 


A prayer

I thank you, O God, for the pleasures you have given me through my senses; for the glory of thunder, for the mystery of music, the singing of birds and the laughter of children. I thank you for the delights of colour, the awe of the sunset, the wild roses in the hedgerows, the smile of friendship. I thank you for the sweetness of flowers and the scent of hay. Truly, O Lord, the earth is full of your riches!

by Edward King (1829-1910) (adapted)

from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #211
 


Digging deeper

 

Wilderness encouragement

 

Three short pieces, by way of encouragement.

#1

God did not say,
“You shall not be tempted;
you shall not be troubled;
you shall not be distressed.”
 
God did say,
“You shall not be overcome.”

 
from the United Church of Christ’s Worship Ways Archive and posted on https://re-worship.blogspot.nl

#2

In the darkest night,
in the valley of the shadow of death,
 
even there
we find shadows
bearing witness to the dawn
 
for it is in the pile of fallen leaves
that we find the acorn.

 
from http://www.liturgyoutside.net

#3


(Photo: Irene Bom)
 

The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
 
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.

 
Isaiah 35:1-2a

 

Seen any crocusses lately?


See also: Theme: Do not lose heart (Prayer sheet)