The Pilgrim Way

PILGRIM[For the months of November and December, I will be posting once a week on Tuesdays.]

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.

4 thoughts on “The Pilgrim Way

  1. My feet hurt, I’m tired, and there’s sand where it ain’t supposed to be.

    Thus may have spake one of Moses’ homies, wandering in circles for forty years. Thus speak I, some days.

    But the whole point of the journey IS the journey. It’s where we have the chance to build muscles strong enough to climb that last hill, and look over into our Promised Land.

    • “But the whole point of the journey IS the journey.”
      I was rubbing my sore feet this morning when that statement of yours hit me like a ton of mud bricks.
      Like Moses’ homeboys, I’ve spent a lot of time complaining while wandering in circles, never grasping that God is always present and active and working IN the journey.
      Thank you for reminding me that our journey is not just passing time, like standing in an elevator waiting to reach the penthouse. Engaging with God in the journey is real life. Like you said, that’s where we are formed and transformed.
      Thanks, Andrew, for finishing my post today!

  2. So true about ‘home’ not being a place, Dave. That lesson was driven home (no pun intended – noticed this on my read-through before hitting ‘post’) to me some years ago when my parents sold the Michigan home I was raised in after living there over two decades. When I visited them in their subsequent 100-year-old farmhouse in Maine, I knew I was home. When I visited them in their apartment in South Korea I was home. Now I refer to ‘going home’ as being on my way to their small manufactured home in Florida. For whatever precious time there is left to visit there. I know that’s not the ultimate home, but to me it’s a microscopic preview.

    May your Thanksgiving and your heart be especially blessed, Dave.

    • You’re right, Shel. Home is community, wherever that community happens to be. I appreciate what you shared about finding “home” in so many places.
      Thank you for your holiday blessing. May your heart also be blessed and overflowing with thanksgiving.

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