Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Pilgrimage that is Passion Week

Richard Rohr writes this of Palm Sunday in Radical Grace:

The supreme irony of the whole crucifixion scene is this: He, who was everything, had everything taken away from him. He, who was the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, was crowned with thorns. He is the eternal sign of God to humans, yet his arms were nailed open because he said in his life three most dangerous words: “I love you.”

What is powerful is realizing that Jesus is entering into Jerusalem through one gate, entering as the Prince of Peace, while Pilate is entering through another gate, entering as the military man and power that he was: the Prince of War.

In the middle of Jerusalem these two would meet, head to head, heart to heart, body to body.

The pilgrimage is on...



Thursday, March 25, 2010

Learning to Walk with One Another

I'm re-learning an age old lesson of pilgrims who are on the same road: how we walk our stride, sometimes together, but more often alone.

In relationship, two people some times walk together, and some times we walk with others, meeting at various points to see what's going on.


Buen camino,


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St Patrick's Day: A Pilgrim

In 2001, I went on a pilgrimage to St. Patrick's Purgatory on Lough Derg in northern Ireland. The legend was that Patrick came to this island and looked into a cave and saw the gates of Purgatory. The legend continues: if you go there three times in your life, you miss having to go to Purgatory when you die.

It is an incredible pilgrimage: 3 days of walking barefoot on an island, in which it gets to the 30s (F) degrees at night, and the first 24 hours on the island is an all night vigil.

I then went to Croagh Patrick, the mountain (hill) top which he drove off the vermin from the land of Ireland.

Here's to you, St. Patrick!

Happy pilgrimage!

Buen camino!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Culture Clash

There was a fascinating essay in the nyt.com online edition by Maureen Dowd, who decried the religious culture clash, in which she was not allowed to enter Islam's holiest sites:

You don’t have to be a Catholic to go to the Vatican. You don’t have to be Jewish to go to the Western Wall (although if you’re a woman, you’re squeezed into a slice of it at the side). You don’t have to be Buddhist to hear the Dalai Lama speak — and have your picture snapped with him afterward.

A friend who often travels to Saudi Arabia for business said he thought that Medina, the site of Muhammad’s tomb, was beginning to “loosen up” for non-Muslims. (As the second holiest city in Islam, maybe they needed to try harder.) But the Saudis nixed a trip there.

I assumed I at least could go to a mosque at prayer time, as long as I wore an abaya and hijab, took off my shoes, and stayed in the back in a cramped, segregated women’s section. The magnificent Blue Mosque in Istanbul, once the center of one of the greatest Muslim empires, is a huge tourist draw.

But at the Jidda Hilton, I was told that non-Muslims could not visit mosques — not even the one on the hotel grounds.

A Saudi woman in Jidda told me that the best way to absorb Islam was to listen to the call for prayer while standing on the corniche by the Red Sea at sunset.

That was indeed moving, but I didn’t feel any better equipped to understand the complexities of Islam that even Saudis continually debate — and where radical Islam fits in. Or to get elucidation on how, as Newsweek’s Fareed Zakaria put it, “the veil is not the same as the suicide belt.”

I too could not participate in going to Mecca or Medina because I am not a believer.

Such is pilgrimage!

Shalom and Salaam,


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Food for the Journey

Today, at United Church of Chapel Hill, we celebrated Holy Communion. Like many Protestant Churches, this Church has it once a month for the 11:00 worship, and every Sunday for 8:45 A.M.
It is literally and figuratively, food for the pilgrimage of the faithful.

Reading (and hopefully seeing soon) the movie "Alice in Wonderland," I am reminded of food for her journey that either shrinks her or makes her monstrous. Either way: food was always at the start of her next leg of her journey.

So it is for us: food is for the journey, making it possible for us to make it the next leg of the pilgrimage.

Buen camino!