Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Jesus Set His Face To Jeruslaem: The Pilgrimage of Death and Resurrection Begins

In this Sunday's lectionary reading, the Gospel of Matthew reminds us that Jesus literally sets his face, his life, his feet to Jerusalem, going to his death and subsequent resurrection:

From that time on Jesus began to explain to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!" Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." (Matthew 16:21-23)

Of course, Peter couldn't understand what kind of pilgrimage they were all on as they followed the Christ. Peter wanted to pre-empt salvation's story, but rebuking the Creator of heaven and earth. Peter, who had just received the beatitude of life, being called "blessed," did not understand or comprehend what Jesus, and only Jesus, had to do and could do. The pilgrimage of his earthly ministry had to move forward. There was no turning back, regardless of what the disciples said or did.

The journey continues!

Buen camino!

Pilgrim peace,


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Interim Ministry: Finding the Stride of A Congregation

This morning is my first Sunday morning preaching at First Presbyterian Church-Henderson. For anyone reading this blog from the Church, good morning! Being all about pilgrimage and the School of the Pilgrim, as I mentioned earlier, I understand my work this way: they, the congregation, have lost their once -upon-a-time pastor and thus pilgrim and pilgrim guide, a.k.a., the pastor. This morning, I am coming up to their side and walking with them for a short distance and time (all things considered, given that this is a congregation that is over 100 years old), and we shall walk a part of their story on the road before them.

Interim ministry--this short, temporary time and relationship--is meant to be a time of letting a congregation breathe, assess, figure out, discern where they--and God--want them to be going on the next leg of their journey as a congregation with their called-pastor.

Prayers for our journey together are appreciated!

And the Gospel text? Peter being called "the Rock, upon which I shall build my church," says Jesus. And where do we find rocks but on the road of life.

Rock and roll!

Buen camino!

Pilgrim peace, Brett

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Palestinian Walks

Embedded in the nyt.com this morning was a wonderful video clip called "Palestinian Walks," in which a Palestinian gentleman , Raja Jehadeh, walks the West Bank, laying out the physical and political challenges of this area. It is an incredibly moving "pilgrimage" clip, letting us see and hear the challenges and beauty of walking this land.

I am moved by watching the images of his buy bread in the morning at a corner stand, and wondering aloud if he would make it home that night because of the possibility that he would get shot for simply walking in the West Bank, with nothing more than a back-pack.

Incredibly moving.

Click here for more. The title of the book is "Palestinian Walks." Buy it!

Buen camino,

Pilgrim peace, Brett

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Pilgrim Pastor: An Interim Pastorate at 1st Presbyterian Church, Henderson, NC

Approved by the Committee on Ministry of the Presbytery of New Hope, I am starting my sixth interim pastorate at First Presbyterian Church in Henderson, North Carolina! I am excited about this venture. My time will be 1/2 to 2/3 time, in which the other "1/2" will be focused on the School of the Pilgrim of course.

As I told the Committee, I see my work as interim as pilgrimage-in-practice in the Church: I come along the side of a church on pilgrimage, walk with them a little bit after their previous pastoral-guide leaves their side, and walk with them until their called pastor--and they--discover one another. I like doing this work part-time. It reminds me of why I am "the Rev." as well as "Dr." as well as pilgrim guide.

Buen camino!

Pilgrim peace, Brett

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wandering God

In reading up on Barack Obama, reading his first book about growing up, Dreams of My Father, there was a verse attributed to Chronicles, which I can only find in the Psalms. I'll go looking again.

But I did find this verse in 1 Chronicles 17:1, 2: I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the Lord is under a tent. Nathan said to David, "Do all that you have in mind, for God is with you."

Nathan continues: "Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the lord: You shall not build me a house to live in. For i have not lived in a house since the day I brought out Israel to this very day, but I have lived in a tent and a tabernacle. Wherever I have moved about among all Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people saying Why have you not built me a house of cedar?"

We are a pilgrim people, made for following a Pilgrim God, who moved his people Israel hither and yon, never leaving their side, but moving with them, as they moved with Yahweh.

No wonder pilgrimage is in our very blood as people of faith: the God who created us is a wandering God, the Pilgrim God.

Buen camino!

Pilgrim peace, Brett