Journeys and Pilgrimages

I’ve been working on my sermon this week which I will preach at my field education church this Sunday. Originally the lectionary texts (Psalm 121 and Luke 18:1-8) really perplexed me, but last night as I couldn’t sleep, I picked up Parker Palmer’s Let Your Life Speak and realized this theme of journey, present I believe in both the texts is a powerful one in reference to the Christian life. While the journey the Israelites make from exile back to Zion in Psalm 121 is a physical, external one, Palmer spends much time on the spiritual pilgrimage that we all make in our lives, which involves seeing our truth–our strengths and our weaknesses–for what they are, and making the pilgrimage toward employing those gifts in the world. In the scripture passages, I was moved that while God is telling us to get up and walk, we can’t just walk in any direction, for God has our particular purposes at heart. Palmer points out that however strenous the pilgrimage, if it is in the direction of discovering our true self, it can be no more painful than not knowing that self or keeping it hidden from others. Palmer pointed me toward the inner journey of spirituality, while the physical journey as a theme dominates, especially the Old Testament. Even in the New Testament, Jesus walks everywhere in his ministry, and Jesus asks at the end of the passage in Luke, “When the Son of Man returns will he find faith on the earth?” In Jesus’ brief sojourn with us, he teaches us how to journey faithfully, how to live in this world but look beyond it.
Well, it sounded a bit better in my head, but those are just some of the unformed things I’m working with for that sermon coming up on Sunday.

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