Blessings as you go: Pilgrimage, Day 1

In sacred manner may we walk
upon the fair and loving earth,
in beauty move, in beauty love
the living round that brought us birth.
We stand on holy ground,
We stand on holy ground.

In sacred manner may we touch
the suspirant and loving green,
give honour and give gratitude
for shade, for bloom, for gift unseen.
The trees shall shout for joy,
The trees shall shout for joy.

Source unknown, from Kathy Haig

Our bodies are made for walking. Certainly, some of us have physical challenges due to ageing, infirmity, or opportunities. As planes work best while flying through the air, as ships cut through waves and swell separated from the shore, humans walk as well as they breathe, naturally. Except in some cases of disability, you are I are designed and equipped for walking.

What makes a pilgrimage unique is the intentionality of the exercise. Amongst the fifteen pilgrims now gathered at the Sorrento Centre, the motivations are as different as the persons assembled.. We gather however for our own physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, never isolated from the world in which we live and move and have our being; we are in though not of the world. We do not seek to fix the world as we find it – physical disasters, economic stresses, war in Ukraine or the rise of right-wing politics in Italy and Sweden — we are each aware of such events to varying degrees. We walk, together, in and through creation, a forum for life and love and living, aware, though not overcome with grief for our world.

We assemble at the trailhead of a series of three walks, three daily treks, three pilgrimages. We make these journeys having found space from other commitments and concerns, able to enjoy the relief from the daily grind which includes  the duties, delights and sometimes despairs which characterize our daily lives. Now gifted with a different space, a different space within which to think, to play, to look, or photograph, to speak, to sing.

As we watch salmon struggle upstream, we will be reminded of our own life-journey. As we wind our way through the forest, we will savour the mystery and majesty of creation as we hear stories of First Peoples and of all peoples. Given the warm weather, some of us will sweat more than others, ably  reminded that our bodies are alive (if somewhat unfit in this author’s case).

Each day it will be my pleasure to share both images and thoughts for those unable to join us, this year — for our intention is to grow pilgrimage into the routine of this region, this province of the Anglican Church in Canada.

So please join us remotely for the next few days. And share this link with any you think may be interested. Pray for us, as we pray for you. Let us celebrate our place within creation, together.

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