Journey, Lent and Pilgrimage



A favourite image of mine in thinking about Jesus is that of him setting out on a journey.

At some point in his life Jesus had to make a choice, a decision to step away from the life that he had known and embark on a new and risky one. I suppose that it happened gradually over time, but still the Gospels are full of beginning points; the baptism in the Jordan, the call of the disciples; the temptation in the desert. No matter what had come before, or how all previous choices had led to this, there must have been a moment when Jesus accepted and embraced his mission, walked out his door and chose.

All pilgrimage has a moment of starting, a moment of decision when you stop being a bystander or a traveler and become a pilgrim. It is only through that choice that the deeper meaning of the journey is grasped (often long after the journey is ended!).

Lent invites us to pilgrimage too – not to just pass through it as though nothing is different but to choose it and accept what it will reveal to us. It is not too late to grasp the meaning and to accept the journey. There are many start points!

As we walk through these weeks of lent, lets consider how we are choosing to live it. How am I choosing to be a person of mercy, justice and integrity?

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Isaiah 58

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