Deep peace

Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the gentle night to you,
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you. Amen

-Gaelic Blessing

A pilgrimage is a spiritual or religious journey, a holy expedition made to a sacred place as an act of prayer and devotion, having a significance to one’s faith.  As followers of Jesus, one can embark on a pilgrimage in their own community or in distant lands.

It is customary for a pilgrim to wear or carry a scallop shell. The deep grooves, which merge at the top of the shell, represent the many paths a person can take in their journey to be closer to God. The shell can be used to dip water from a well or stream and is a reminder of our baptismal covenant.  

On Tuesday, May 14, I will embark on a two week pilgrimage to Wales and Ireland. I will worship in ancient churches: St. David’s Cathedral, the Church of St. Brynanch, the Monastery of Pennant Melangell, St. Bruno’s Church and several other abbeys and monasteries. I will walk in the footsteps of early Celtic Christians like Saint Non, Saint David, Saint Melangell, Saint Brendan, Saint Patrick, Saint Brigid, Saint Columba and  many other unnamed yet faithful Christians. I will visit ancient and holy places.

Pilgrimage is a way to unlearn speed. There is a profound rhythm of journeying, encountering sites of pain and hope, engaging in history and culture, serving and being present with others, as well as a time of worshiping, resting and reflecting. Pilgrims are slowly confronted by a different world that begins to disrupt their own.

The goal of pilgrimage is to search and to be present. Pilgrims slow down in order that they may listen. They are more interested in making a new friend than making a difference. The pace is slow and reflective.  It is more about eating with the stranger than assisting the stranger. It is about individual transformation. As I travel to places, which are unknown to me other than in the pages of books, I will be surrounded by the cloud of witnesses and saints of the early church. 

Next week, The Rt. Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple will be on pilgrimage with other bishops for the World Global Missions Pilgrimage along the United States’ southern border, The Rev. Nancy Cox will be on a pilgrimage of walking the Camino de Santiago, and I will be walking the way of Celtic Saints.  

Please pray for all the pilgrims who seek to listen.

Deep Peace+  Deacon Jackie