Friday, August 3, 2007

Friday Five: Post-Pilgrimage Edition


Reverend Mother, from my friends over at Revgals, writes and asks us to think about 5 things:

Hello friends, I am just back from a lovely time of pilgrimage in the isle of Iona, "cradle of Scottish Christianity." It has provided much food for thought, to say the least, and so, to keep the pilgrim mojo going:

1. Have you ever been on a pilgrimage? (however you choose to define the term) Share a bit about it. If not, what's your reaction to the idea of pilgrimage?
I don't think I've ever been on a pilgrimage, in the traditional sense of the word, as in a journey to a particularly holy place. I don't think there is one "particularly holy" place, in the sense of Mecca for Muslims. I think all ground can be holy ground. But perhaps all of our journeys can be holy, if we have a sense of purpose and destination, and an openness to meeting God.

2. Share a place you've always wanted to visit on pilgrimage.
Again, I don't have a place I've wanted to go to only for religius reasons. But places like "Muir Woods" for example, have been religious experiences for me. I would love to go to Sweden, because it is where some of my family roots are. Also I would love to have the opportunity to travel to Tanzania, or somewhere in Africa, where they can teach us so much about faith.

3. What would you make sure to pack in your suitcase or backpack to make the pilgrimage more meaningful? Or does "stuff" just distract from the experience?
Mostly, I think "stuff" would be distracting. I love books, but I don't want to be distracted by them so that I don't experience the place I am in. A Bible and a guidebook, perhaps.

4. If you could make a pilgrimage with someone (living, dead or fictional) as your guide, who would it be? (I'm about this close to saying "Besides Jesus." Yes, we all know he was indispensable to those chaps heading to Emmaus, but it's too easy an answer)
Of course, I would want to go with my husband (he might insist upon a pilgrimage that had something to do with music) -- It depends on where I was going. If I traveled to Sweden, for example, I would love to take my Swedish grandmother with me. She was a woman of great faith, and there are many things I don't know about her, that I would love to learn on the journey.

5. Eventually the pilgrim must return home, but can you suggest any strategies for keeping that deep "mountaintop" perspective in the midst of everyday life? (don't mind me, I'll be over here taking notes)
Write about it and share it with others. And share the glory that is ordinary life, too.

13 comments:

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

"Share the glory that is ordinary life"... I like that wording & thought. Hoping to do some of that postvacation... I find getting away helps me to see with new eyes while away and then while I am back home too. Hope your getaway had that wonderful effect for you!

reverendmother said...

I do agree about all of life as a pilgrimage! It should never be either/or. Just like all of life is an act of worship---I love the ebb and flow between Sunday worship, where we intentionally practice and model what life and community should be like, and the rest of the week, when we carry the practice forward. Same with intentional pilgrimages and retreats.

Thanks for the food for thought!

mompriest said...

very thoughtful, diane. life as intentional pilgrimage...

Barbara B. said...

"Perhaps all of our journeys can be holy..." -- I like that.

And, if you liked Muir Woods, you'll LOVE the Pacific NW. Come visit! :)

Presbyterian Gal said...

"...the glory that is ordinary life" and all of life as a pilgrimage. Well, now that just says it for me. If only I could remember that every single day. Thanks for the reminder.

"PS" said...

Holy ground and sacred space in all things; great image to sit with and reflect on. Enjoyed your play very much.

Kievas said...

I liked your idea of sacred places all around us...well played.

Jan said...

It was nice to read more about your thoughts and yourself. I'm glad you'd want to go with your husband.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Well done, Diane. Answering all the questions would require deep thought for me.

The holiest place that I have been is the ruins of St. Kevin's monastery at Glendalough in Ireland, where I felt the presence of God most powerfully. It seemed holy ground to me. Perhaps because the ruins are quite old and many prayers were uttered there over many centuries, I also experienced the "cloud of witnesses" present with me.

I went there not really as a pilgrim, but because I love to visit old churches, but I was overwhelmed by the spiritual presences - a completely unexpected result.

I have heard that the Irish call places like Glendalough "thin places", where the veil between earth and heaven is quite thin.

Diane said...

Grandmere Mimi, that sounds so fascinating. Now I'm going to add Ireland to the list of places I want to visit. I had heard of "thin places" before, but not really a definition like yours. I'd like to think, as well, that we can experience a "thin place" in other areas, too... where prayers have gone up over the centuries.

Grandmère Mimi said...

I'd like to think, as well, that we can experience a "thin place" in other areas, too... where prayers have gone up over the centuries.

I absolutely think we can, Diane. We can do it in the present, too, without being in a special place.

While I was at Glendalough, I felt I should speak in hushed tones. It reminded me of the story of Moses and the burning bush, when God told him to take off his shoes.

Rev Scott said...

Are the Muir Woods at Yosemite? We went down into the valley a few years ago, but I would love to spend a month there someday - I don't think I'd even see everything after a month, but at least it would be a start!

Diane said...

Someone helpe me out. We visited Muir Woods when we were in the San Francisco area. seemed to be only about an hour or two away?...