Preparing for Worship – Brianna Childs, pastoral resident
“We are travelers on a journey, fellow pilgrims on the road; we are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load.” — Hymn 278, Richard Gillard
This hymn took on a whole new meaning for me in the summer of 2019 when I had the privilege of embarking on a five-week pilgrimage for a seminary class. We walked about 365 miles through four countries, from Canterbury, England, to Rome, Italy, by way of France and Switzerland. At the end of every day, after walking and hiking through breathtaking scenery, the welcome we received at each hostel, monastery or inn felt like the warmest I’ve ever encountered.
As the group of eight of us went along our way, our muscles often ached, and we were often pushed to our limits in physical and emotional capacities. With each step and milestone along the way, I learned important lessons — what it means to truly receive, what it means to travel lightly in simplicity, what it means to live in messy community and what it means to live an embodied theology.
As we prepare for worship this morning, I wonder what it looks like to view our lives as a pilgrimage. While not all of us will necessarily go on a walking trip to a holy site that pushes us to our physical limits, all of us are pilgrims on a lifelong journey that meets the same criteria.
As we participate in the sacred moments of baptism and family dedication in this service, we get to see a new and beautiful milestone for some fellow pilgrims. They have chosen to leave some things behind as they anticipate humbly receiving so much more. They want to be part of our community, even in all its messiness.
What might it look like to view our lives as a pilgrimage? How can we lean into both giving and receiving? What might we give up to live in simplicity? How do we thrive in our messy community together? How do we live an embodied theology as one?
Each of you is a sacred pilgrim that I am glad to meet along the way of my journey. May we take our lives one step at a time, bear the load together and notice little miracles along the way.