Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pilgrimage of Lent: Session One

Over the last four weeks, I've led a series of lessons on pilgrimage during the season of Lent at United Church of Chapel Hill. I connected the Gospel reading for the upcoming Sunday with pilgrimage practices done on an actual pilgrimage, or the pilgrimage of ordinary lives.

The first session went something like this:
I. We opened with Evening Prayer, reading a litany that was "The Lord be with you," antiphon, followed by the Gospel Reading. This week the reading was Mark 8:31-38:

Mark 8:31-38

Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection

Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’

He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’

II. The opening activity for this session was building a cross. I explained that the cross of Christ was probably thrown away into the wilderness, or re-used again by someone else. People sell bits of the cross throughout the Holy Land. I like to say that the cross of Christ has been reclaimed by nature and is found in the simple wood of forested lands. With that, we went to the forested land around the Church and found bits of wood no longer than one's thigh and no thicker than a finger. We bound these bits of wood with natural twine and made a cross that was five feet long and 3 feet wide of gnarly brown wood.

III. The discussion was simple: What does it mean to follow the cross of Christ in our lives on our personal pilgrimage, based upon the Gospel reading. The discussion was incredibly rich, diverse, and deep.

IV. We concluded with praying the Lord's Prayer.

Now for the second session...

Buen Camino!


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