Thursday, February 25, 2010

Buechner on Pilgrimage

"Religion points to that area of human experience where in one way or another a person comes upon mystery as a summons to pilgrimage." Frederick Buechner.

Where have you been called today to be on a pilgrimage?

Buen camino!



Pilgrimage: Walking in the Covenant with God

This upcoming lectionary reading is from Genesis 17:1-16, in which Abram and Sarai is being watched over by God on the journey that they are about to take. They are in God's hands.

Amazingly good news!

We are in a journey of a lifetime, in the palm of God's hands.

Buen camino!



Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cheshire Cat and Alice: On a Pilgrimage

This morning's sermon at United Church of Chapel Hill, Rev. Rick Edens pulled on this story from the Cheshire Cat and Alice in talking about the people of Israel on pilgrimage, and people who wander to being a pilgrim people with a purpose:

From Alice in Wonderland:

'Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'
'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.
'I don't much care where----' said Alice.
'Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.
'----so long as I get somewhere,' Alice added as an explanation.
'Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, 'if you only walk enough.'

We are a people on a pilgrimage, knowing which way we are going, unlike Alice. There are wanderers, like Alice, and there are people with a destination, like the people of Israel.

Buen camino!



Friday, February 19, 2010

First Sunday in Lent: Jesus in the Wilderness

It must've been cold in the early mornings of Jesus' trek in the wilderness.

I've been to Wadi Qelt, outside of Jerusalem, right before you get to Jericho, It is a hilly land, lacking in trees, dry, brown, only spotty vegetation around the areas where there may be a deposit of water after a quick rainfall.

In the distance, to the west, you can see the buildings of Jeruslaem, and new Israeli settlements in the land of the Palestinians.

This is the place where Jesus' experienced the torments of evil, temptation in the flesh, embodied voice, constant presence.

Like any pilgrimage, there is the constant torment of taking the easy road.

But we who are pilgrims know the limitless treasure of choosing a way that is slightly more arduous from the onset.

Buen Camino.



Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

Last night we had a big Dutch baby pancake, with sausage, berries banana slices, and yogurt!

Today we live with ashes.

Ash Wednesday: the starting point of our Lenten journey.

"Ash Wednesday" by T.S. Eliot

If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent
If the unheard, unspoken
Word is unspoken, unheard;
Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,
The Word without a word, the Word within
The world and for the world;
And the light shone in darkness and
Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled
About the centre of the silent Word.

Buen Camino!



Friday, February 12, 2010

The Ganges: A Pilgrimage, Kumbh Mela

This from about Kumbh Mela, a huge religious pilgrimage gathering in the Ganges in India:

HARIDWAR, India — Thousands of Hindu holy men, some naked and smeared with ash, took dips in the chilly waters of the Ganges river while surrounded by cheering, dancing supporters Friday, one of the most auspicious days of a monthslong festival expected to attract more than 10 million people.

Throughout the day, nearly 2 million devout Hindus – including large groups of sadhus, or holy men – are expected to bathe in the waters, which they consider sacred, said Anand Vardhan, the government official supervising the Kumbh Mela, often described as the world's largest religious gathering.

The Hindu festival, which is celebrated every three years, rotates among four Indian cities.

On Jan. 13, it began in Haridwar, a temple-filled town at the foothills of the Himalayas where the Ganges river enters the sprawling plains of northern India. The festival ends April 28.

Thousands of pilgrims began taking dips before dawn on Friday with temperatures falling below 50 degrees (10 degrees Celsius). Devout Hindus believe bathing in the Ganges will cleanse them of their sins and free them from the cycle of life and rebirth.

"Because of the way the stars are aligned during the Kumbh, all the good things you do get multiplied and your sins are washed away," said Anil Sharma, a lawyer who had traveled to Haridwar from Jaipur in western India's Rajasthan state.

Click here for more.

The idea of celebrating the cycle of life, birth, death, and re-birth, reflects the mystery of Hinduism.

Buen camino!



Thursday, February 11, 2010

Errands, Deadlines, and Pilgrimage of Life

In these two weeks I am finding myself in the middle of many check points and due dates, all in a row. The destination? Completion of these assignments, self-imposed, but all important.

There is the application process for a new position: DONE!

There is the due date for an essay, due today: DONE!

There is a revision of the proposal for DIVINITY: getting done;

There is the review of the page proofs for BEYOND ACCESSIBILITY: getting done;

There is the ongoing teaching of the on-line Old Testament course for Durham Tech.: DONE!

One day at a time, one step at a time.

Moving forward.

Buen camino!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Shadow of Transfiguration Sunday

There is something about the shadow of the upcoming events or arriving at a destination that colors one's present day.

This is true with Transfiguration. I've been reading a great deal of Mt. Sinai and Moses for my on-line course, Intro to the Old Testament. The relationship of God and the people of Israel is thick as blood, and just as ornery sometimes.

Yet there is something of Moses' pilgrimage to the top of Mt. Sinai, shrouded in the mist and light of God, that is echoed in the Lucan account of Transfiguration. Moses, Elijah, and Jesus, all bathed in the light of God. It mimics Moses and Elijah's account of meeting the Holy on the top of Mt. Sinai.

This story already pulls me forward toward not only toward Transfiguration Sunday, but Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday: the beginning of Lent.

Buen Camino!


Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Pilgrim God: The Journey Begins in Earnest

Today's reading from Gospel of Luke 5:1-11, Jesus is by the Sea of Galilee watching fishermen coming to the shore line, their boats empty. Jesus suggests to them that they should push out further into the Sea of Galilee and drop their nets again. When they did so, the nets themselves began to break because the haul of fish was so heavy. Astonished by the catch, Jesus says to them: "Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch people." So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

In this miracle tale from Luke, Jesus has begun moving among us. The Pilgrim God moves among the people of God.