I’m reading The Way of the Lord: Christian Pilgrimage Today by N.T. Wright (Amazon-$12.81/Kindle-$9.99), in preparation for my trip to the Holy Land with 30 other pilgrims in a few weeks.
I expected the book to match locations with Scripture readings, but I didn’t expect it to prepare our hearts to experience the desolation of the desert; reminding us that we all go through times when God seems distant. “The wilderness around us opens our eyes, if we let it, to the wilderness within.”
Wright says that we are all pilgrims on a journey that starts with our baptism and conversion. Whether we travel on a plane or stay at home, the pilgrimage within is the same: we commit ourselves to the reality that there is another king other than Caesar and Herod and just as Jesus did, we commit our deeds and words to the work of healing and liberation in restoring God’s kingdom. He describes at least three ways that we break into this circle of holiness reminding us that, “it doesn’t much matter which path you take as long as you then move on to the others as well:
1. Challenging injustice and oppression in the wider world
2. Creating beauty and truth through art, music, or scholarship, so that the beauty and truth of God may shine into the ugliness and untruth of the world
3. Confronting the contesting claimants in our own heart and life, struggling against sin within ourselves and planting the flag of the kingdom in our own daily words and deeds.”
Wright cautions, “Don’t use a strong social concern as an excuse for not facing up to the personal battles that we have to fight; don’t fall in love with your own creativity so strongly that we lose sight of the call to justice and holiness; equally, don’t get so focused on your private holiness that you forget God’s passion for justice and truth, his compassion for the widow, orphan, and oppressed. The Son of God was revealed, says St. John, that he might destroy the works of the Devil and we who celebrate the victory are required, in our pilgrimage, to implement it.”
My faith pilgrimage started with challenging injustice through a volunteer medical clinic over 30 years ago. The past 5 years have been dedicated to challenging the sin in my own heart. But it has only been the last year when I have felt called to create beauty and truth through my writings and photographs on this blog.
As Christians, all of us our on a pilgrimage whether we leave home or not. How are you helping to restore the Kingdom through challenging oppression, creating beauty, and confronting the sins within your own heart?
Where are you in your pilgrimage and where is God taking you next?
Blessings, my friend,