St. Paul’s, Montrose
Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. And all the
Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron; the whole congregation said to them,
“Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness!
Why is the LORD bringing us into this land to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little
ones will become booty; would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” So they said
to one another, “Let us choose a captain, and go back to Egypt.”
Did you ever notice that when you learn a new word or focus on a particular concept, it seems to jump in front of you all the time? I never thought much about a pilgrimage until we were recently called to one by Bishop Sean. Now it seems that I can relate much of my reading or everyday experiences to going on pilgrimage. Today’s Old Testament reading tells of the Israelites, on pilgrimage, about to enter the land promised to them by God until the scouts report that the inhabitants of the land are “stronger than we.” The congregation cries out that they’d have been better off dying in Egypt or in the wilderness. The more things change, the more they stay the same. We are still crying that we liked things better the old way! Change is tough; it requires trust that God has our best interests at heart.
As I was writing the blog for Wednesday, another pilgrimage was taking place outside my kitchen window. A big black bear was passing through in search of food and decided my birdfeeder was fair game. From the ground, he yanked the metal feeder which clunked from the tree branch onto our big, round plastic table and alerted me to his presence. The bear continued on his pilgrimage when he heard me yelling at him to move along. Perhaps he thought I was stronger than he (smile).
As part of my individual pilgrimage, I added an activity to my calendar this week. I joined the two faithful women of our parish who routinely say Morning Prayer with the residents of a nursing home on Tuesday and a personal care home on Wednesday. Our mission is so much more effective and easier when we work together. Metaphorically, I am reminded of the fields of pink wildflowers that grow around our home. When picked, single blossoms add little to an arrangement as they appear fragile and unimpressive. Collectively, a field of pink blooms can be breathtaking.
Photo credit: Lynne Graham