Eastminster Church where I am pastor was somewhat wary and hesistant about taking this pilgrimage when I first mentioned it. I knew that I would have to do some pretty crafty convincing. It wasn’t as difficult as I expected. In many ways they were probably more concerned about my safety than they were about calling this “work.”
I never felt that this pilgrimage was solely for me or “all about Brian” as I feared some might think. After all, as a committed cyclist of some 30+ years, who wouldn’t want to get one’s employer to pay for a ten week bicycle tour through a Western paradise! The truth is, this was never intended as an extended vacation; it has always been about trying to mirror the emotional process that the church is also experiencing.
In speaking with the congregation I shared with them that the questions I will be asking on the pilgrimage are the same ones they have been asking as part of a church drifting in the wilderness of a new and changing culture. Here were the questions I shared with my congregation:
- Do I have the ability to complete this?
- What are my limitations?
- What unknown gifts and strengths will I discover?
- How will I face those days when the road ahead looks too imposing?
- Who will join me on the journey?
- Where will I be surprised by God’s presence?
- What will I do when I feel all alone on this journey?
- Why did I leave home? What was I thinking?
- What will home be like when I return?
- Can I survive this?
- How will I be changed and transformed by this journey?
Now that I think about it aren’t these the same questions we all ask on the journey of life? We’re all in this together!