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We find ourselves again in the season we call Lent. For this year, we are framing our Sunday Lenten worship around the theme of "Journeying with Jesus," walking with Jesus as he made his final trip to Jerusalem before his passion and death. It is a way of preparing ourselves for the commemorations of Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. 

I was given an interesting Christmas gift this past year, a booklet and CD entitled "A Way for the Pilgrim in Glendalough" by Michael Rodgers, a priest in Glendalough, Ireland. He takes the reader on a pilgrim journey in 14 stations all within walking distance of his home. It got me wondering, in a pandemic, what kind of "journey" can we make within walking distance of our door? What do we see in our own neighbourhoods if we look differently, ask different questions?  

Rodgers' first chapter simply reminds us that we are all pilgrims on this Earth.  "A pilgrim is essentially a traveler asking questions, seeking help and getting directions to continue on the right path." This is a good thing to remember, to remember that it is important to keep asking questions, all of our lives. Because others have experience for me to learn from, and I have experience to share.  Rodgers then shares this poem, Trasna,  by Raphael Consedine, written of the Camino:

The pilgrims paused on the ancient stones
In the mountain gap.
Behind them stretched the roadway they had travelled.
Already a far journey.
Was it a lifetime?

Ahead, mist hid the track.
Unspoken the questions hovered:
Why go on? Is life not short enough?
Why seek to pierce its mystery?
Why venture further on strange paths, risking all?
Surely that is a gamble for fools – or lovers.
Why not return quietly by the known road?
Why be a pilgrim still?

A voice they knew called to them, saying:
"This is Trasna, the crossing place.
Choose! 
Go back if you must,
You will find your way easily by yesterday’s road.
You can pitch your tents by yesterday's fires,
there may be life in the embers yet.
If that is not your deep desire,
Stand still. Lay down your load.
Take your life firmly in your two hands,
(Gently… you are trusted with something precious.)
While you search your heart’s yearnings:
What am I seeking? What is my quest?
When your star rises deep within,
Trust yourself to its leading.
You will have light for your first steps.

This is Trasna, the crossing place.
Choose!
This is Trasna, the crossing place.
Come!"

Let's heed Michael Rodger's reminder that we are indeed all pilgrims.  We have yet to arrive at our destination; there is still much to be experienced and learned, many questions to be asked, and many companions to encounter.  Let's choose to journey with Jesus.    


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