Rector's February 2016 Letter

First: Don’t forget that Easter is very early this year, and that means that Lent starts early too, with Ash Wednesday on February 10th!  Our Lent course will start the following week, on 18th February and will run on Thursday afternoons from 2:30-3:30 followed by tea, coffee and biscuits for those who don’t have to rush away.  We will be following a train of thought and reflection about Pilgrimage, possibly working through a Lent course produced by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.   So do join us for that, or contact me for more details.

 

The topic is not an accident - my mind has been running on the concept of Pilgrimage lately.  After ten years of ordained ministry, I will be taking a Sabbatical after Easter this year, and although my plans are not yet quite fixed, I am intending to include a pilgrimage, probably along one of the Camino routes to Santiago de Compostela. 

 

As I have done ‘long walks’ for my holiday a couple of times in the last few years, first on the West Highland Way and then along Hadrian’s Wall, I find myself wondering what the difference is, or might be, between the experience of a walk taken for a holiday and one taken as some kind of pilgrimage.  For some pilgrims, of course, just as back in the middle ages, the idea of reaching an especially ‘holy’ place, perhaps one connected with a particular saint towards whom one has a particular devotion, or from whom one hopes to ask for a miracle of healing or other benefit, might be the motivation.  For others, and I’m sure that was also the case in Medieval times before the invention of package holidays, there is no real difference and the pilgrimage is simply an acceptable reason to embark upon an adventure.  In fact, those who organised bands of pilgrims were really the first ‘travel agents’ and the tours they put together back then were no doubt the beginnings of the travel industry today!

 

My own feelings and motives don’t seem to fall neatly into either of those groups.  Although I hope that I will reach the eventual destination of my chosen trek, and receive the official Latin certificate to say that I have done so, I don’t find myself particularly concerned that circumstances might conspire to prevent this. 

 

For me, and I’m sure many others, the idea of ‘Pilgrimage’ is more about the process than the destination.  It is about time, how we ‘spend’ it and what it really means to ‘waste’ it.  And it is also about letting go of the things that surround us and make us feel safe and in control.  Unlike the other walks I have done, where accommodation is booked in advance and luggage carried between one bed and breakfast and the next by a baggage service, I would be planning to do this with only a small bag that I can carry with me, allowing me to use the Pilgrim hostels along the way which do not require forward booking.  For someone who is always tempted to overpack; to cover every eventuality and take two of everything in case the first fails, this in itself will be a spiritual exercise!  So join me in Lent, and pray for me after Easter as I set off. 

 

Rev’d Karen Spray                   01392 877400             church@revdkaren.org.uk


Rector's Pages
Webpage icon Associate Minister's January 2016 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's December 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's November 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Associate Minister's November 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's September 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Associate Minister's September 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's August 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's July 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Associate Minister's July 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's June 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's May 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's April 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Associate Minister's April 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's 2nd March 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's March 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's February 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Associate Minister's February 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's January 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's December 2014 Letter
Webpage icon Associate Minister's December 2014 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's November 2014 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's October 2014 Letter
Webpage icon Associate Minister's October 2014 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's August 2014 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's July 2014 Letter