Thursday, May 1, 2014

We Are All Pilgrims

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the wonderful month of May!  Maybe you remember the riddle from elementary school?  If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?  The answer is Pilgrims.    That is us.  We are Pilgrims.  No. of course we don’t wear the funny hats or have buckles on our shoes.  At least most of us don’t.  Still, we are pilgrims. 
This truth sometimes causes tension in our life.  After all, we are trained from the earliest age to act like we have “it” all together.  What the “it” is varies, for some it is life, for others religion, for others, well, I’m sure that you can fill in the blank on your own.  What we are not supposed to do is honestly admit that we are a work in process, that we are not yet complete, and that a little help on the way is certainly appreciated.  Too bad about that because, actually, eventually, most of us accept the truth that we are in process, that we are not yet complete, and that we can use a bit of help on the way.  What happens then is wonderful, delightful, and holy.  What happens then is that God can begin to work with our cooperation and help us grow into the unique person whom God has intended for us to be from before the beginning of time.  That growing is our pilgrimage.  We experience delightful and sometimes terrible things on our Pilgrimage.   We learn every day from any number of people along our Pilgrim way.
We get to help and teach those we meet on this holy Pilgrimage.   All of these opportunities come to us because Pilgrimage is a way of living that constantly introduces us to new situations, new people, and new needs, and opportunities.   Pilgrimage accepts that we have a responsibility to the land through which we are passing and a responsibility to keep our ultimate goal in mind.    As author Paul Coelho reminds us “The boat is safer anchored at the port; but that’s not the aim of boats.” 
We, willing Pilgrims, following the way of the cross, going where Jesus has gone before, moving on by direction of the Holy Spirit, are not born to stay say in harbor, unused, unfulfilled.  We are God’s people, formed, equipped, and called to travel with purpose and intention, pushing back the darkness of indifference as we let the light of Christ reveal God’s presence in an otherwise dark world.   What a gift, what a privilege.  May your seas and your road carry you safe to your Pilgrim destination and may you bless all those you meet along the way.
Grace for the Journey,

Monday, January 6, 2014


Dear Friends,
So there I was, mid-morning January 1.  We’d made the black-eyed peas and turnip greens with bacon.  The cheese grits were baking.  What was it that I had forgotten?  Then I recalled.  During Advent, I’d been doing extra bible reading with a book of daily readings and devotions by Richard Rohr.  These were in addition to what I normally use in a day.  Well, here it was, a week past Christmas and I still looked for that extra time, laid out in a clear, reasonable, and understandable way.  Fortunately, I found a posting that had a simple plan.   There are 52 weeks in a year.  Two of our Bishops, Bill McAlilly and Ken Carter, according to what I read, were planning to read one chapter from the Gospel of Luke on the Sunday of each week and then one chapter from the Acts of the Apostles when they had gone through Luke. 

Those two books have (Luke 24 and Acts 28) chapters in them, so that will be a chapter a week of the great 2 volume church history.  I like the plan.  I also like spending time in the Hebrew Scriptures as well.  Thanks to one of my teachers at Duke, the late Fr. Roland Murphy, I especially enjoy time in the Psalms and Proverbs. 

Well, as it works out, Psalms has 150 chapters of wildly different lengths and Proverbs has 31 chapters of maybe not so wildly different lengths.  That is 151 chapters.  By starting the Psalms on January 5, the day for Luke 1, I can read through both book of wisdom twice in the year.  (Well, sure, the last chapter of Proverbs gets lost, but, hey, I’ll double up on December 31, 2014.)

So, there you have it.  If you want to join me in this plan, we can visit each Sunday for a while about what we might hear God saying to us in this way.  Whatever approach you use, remember, the Bible is a collection of books provided by God through human agency for our wellbeing.  Find a way to spend time with the words and you will find there, the Word. 

Grace for the Way,