Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I am a friend of God and a pilgrim in a strange land

Here are five questions to ponder about the art of making a pilgrimage and being a friend of God.

1. Have you ever been on a pilgrimage? The question conjures up images of visits to historic holy places where once a mighty work of God happened. I think of the many people on this planet forever looking back at where God has been reminiscing about the glory days of the past when the manifest glory shone on this or that favored one and special truth was revealed or grace bestowed. But I am on a pilgrimage looking ahead to the future. I don't know for sure where God is leading but I know that I want to be in His company. There is no use asking "are we there yet?" either, only God knows the appointed time. In the meantime His presence is enjoyable and there are so many interesting things to do and learn along the way. Some of them are tough, hard, difficult, but He more than shares the task at hand.

2. Where have you wanted to go on a pilgrimage? I have always wanted to visit a place of ease and comfort on this pilgrimage but that doesn't seem to be where He is taking me. I pull His heavenly arm longing for beautiful scenery, like a retreat to a secluded shore with crashing waves, or a mountain retreat for peace and quiet. That doesn't seem to be where I am being taken, however. We stay home, where He gently leads and guides me to find sanctuary and sacred places in the day to day life I lead. He shows me how to carve out precious moments for time alone in prayer and solitude throughout the day and to have an attitude of thanksgiving for the present moment.

3. Would a suit case or a back pack be the best thing for your journey, or would you travel lighyt with nothing at all but the clothes on your back and a song in your heart? A suitcase or backpack for this type of pilgrimage is not necessary, but I do have a tote bag that I bring wherever I go. Whats in the bag? A Bible, it is the "map" for the journey, a small notebook and two or three other devotional books, in paperback form, so that they are not too heavy. Any time I have a second to my self I can whip one of the books out and read a few passages, or a chapter and reflect, pray and ponder.

4. If I could make a pilgrimage with someone besides Jesus I would choose to go spend time with Corrie Ten Boom. I have read her books and often thought about her witness in the face of the darkness of the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. She was one gutzy lady and I admire her and her walk with the Lord. I think she would have a lot to teach me. Who would you go on a pilgrimage with, (beside Jesus ,of course)?

5. Eventually the pilgrim must return home, which is simply a transition of attention to the outer life from my inner spirit life based on whatever interuption or need presents in my life. The goal is to integrate them so that some day there will be no transition. I think Brother Lawerence called it "practicing the presence of God". For now I hum to myself, " I am a friend of God." Abraham was a friend of God and he was on a journey. I am too. How long would you stay away? How would you know it was time to come home?

Are you a friend of God too? Are you on a pilgrimage or checking the travel brochures pondering the possibilites? The journey continues for me.

I am a friend of God