Friday, July 1, 2016

The Power of Pilgrimage

Last Time I was in Whistler - David on the far left
It was April 2012. I had just graduated from seminary in March and Mandy was due with our first child in May, so it felt like I needed to do something grand to mark and celebrate these two occasions. So my best friend, David, and I took an epic road trip – mountain biking, rock climbing, and disc golfing from Seattle to Moab and back. It was a fun trip, but an exhausting trip. It was a time of incredible connection and amazing memories. But more than anything, it was a spiritual trip…a pilgrimage.

And now, four years later, David and his wife are about to have their first child and he asked me to join him on another adventure as we mark the commencement of a whole new season in his life. Here in July (perhaps as you are reading this), I will be spending 4 days in British Columbia, riding mountain bikes at one of the most amazing mountain bike locations in the entire world, Whistler. Another fun, but exhausting trip. Another time of incredible connection and amazing memories. But more than anything, another spiritual trip…another pilgrimage.

The art of pilgrimage has been an essential piece of Christian spirituality for thousands of years. There is something significant that happens when we get away from busyness, unplug from normality, turn off the technology, and allow ourselves to simply be. Scripture is laced with stories of journey – of being sent from one place to the next, with the expectation of encountering God along the way. And we have this same spiritual opportunity available to us – the challenge to go and encounter – to see God’s presence in new and transformative ways.

So I’m trying to seize the spiritual potential of pilgrimage, and I’m encouraging you to do the same. Find opportunities for spiritual journey this summer. Find ways to get away. Find places to go that will refresh and encourage your soul. Find good people to do life with – people that will leave you better than when they found you. And I’ll see you when I get back – with my spirit in a better place than when I left.