A friend of mine has a single word tattooed on his forearm. In large, cool-looking script, it says, “pilgrim.” It seems my friend thinks he’s going somewhere. He sees himself on pilgrimage.
My good friend, Mr. Bob, likes to say to me, “Press on, pilgrim.” It appears Mr. Bob thinks I’m headed somewhere, too.
Those early settlers who landed at Plymouth—you know, the pilgrims—saw themselves as pilgrims on the earth, travelers who were just passing through this world. They sought their new homeland, not primarily to build a permanent settlement, but to build a better road on which they could make their journey home.
John Bunyan knew he was on a pilgrimage. Even when he was confined to a prison cell, he saw himself as a traveler following a narrow path. Though trapped behind bars, he was a pilgrim making progress on his journey to a gleaming eternal home.
The truth is, no matter what our plans are for November 28, none of us will be home for the holiday. Maybe we’ll get a taste of home around a family table. Maybe we’ll try in vain to recapture some feeling of home from days long past. Or maybe we’ll only experience an intensified ache for a sense of home we’ve never had. No matter our circumstances, we’re all homeless. Either we’re strangers wandering this earth, or we’re pilgrims on our way home.
Home isn’t a place. Home is a Person, and to arrive is to experience the ultimate re-union. When Jesus says “Come to me”, he’s inviting us to come home. When He says, “Follow me,” He is offering to escort us the entire way.
The going can get tough, but the Pioneer of our faith offers us His own strength for the journey. He also gives us travel companions that we might journey together and encourage one another along the way.
So, in the words of my dear friend, Mr. Bob:
Press on, pilgrim.