Sunday, June 8, 2008
The First Pilgrimage in the Jewish-Christian Tradition: "Go from your country"
Today's Old Testament/Hebrew Scripture in the Revised Lectionary was from Genesis 12:1-3, in which the passage was the following: Yahweh said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. I will of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
This is the first pilgrimage narrative that establishes the practice of pilgrimage for the Jewish and Christian communities of faith. And it is wonderful and scary. Let me begin with the scary: the call of faith that Abram follows-through with, moving forward and leaving the known home and the land he knows so well, with Sarai, unto the unknown. There were no hotels or private Albergues or Refugios: only nomad meeting nomad.
The wonderful part? That Abram and Sarai did move forward, and did depend upon God, and God did deliver. God delivers, lives up to God's promise, meaning that we don't have to be "God" on our pilgrimages. God will provide.