Maggie Niles
Grace Church, Honesdale

There is a lot to learn about pilgrimages!

Here in the Diocese of Bethlehem we have spent the summer reading, praying and thinking about pilgrimage. It turns out to be much more complex that I knew. I should have thought more about all those folks in the Old Testament who traveled all the time. They hauled everything with them, babies and elders, animals, tents, food, clothes, arguments and ambitions. What an interminable pilgrimage! Thousands of years later the disciples faced their own travels and travails too. They were sent out to witness with only the clothes they had on, trusting to the world, well, trusting to God, to take care of them.

I now suspect that when I hike I take far too much with me. I bet I would go more often if my backpack were lighter. I could jettison the bug spray, the moleskin, the candy bar and the gorp, the extra sneakers, the rain suit and the windbreaker, the journal and the paperback. I have too much and I carry it around too long. It turns out that all you need for a pilgrimage is a self who pays attention!

Maybe this is my lesson from the summer. Figure out what is necessary. Pack it up. Get moving!


Image Copyright: belchonock / 123RF Stock Photo