In Scott Peck’s book, “In Search of Stones,” published twenty-five years ago, he writes of reflections of a man growing older, looking back at his life, and applying insights from his journeys through the British Isles to his venture toward the Kingdom of God.
The idea of life as a spiritual pilgrimage is not new, Peck says, but in today’s culture it is unpopular. “We preach a more effortless, more comfortable brand of fulfillment,” he writes. “We load ourselves down with extras, confuse ourselves about our needs, and sometimes forget where we’re going. Life today is a pilgrimage only if we consciously use it as such. One of our greatest tasks,” says Peck, “is to develop this awareness that life should mean traveling to new places, that life is a journey, a race that has been set before us with a goal to love more and to serve more.”
We are not tourists, who return each night to the place from which we start. The Christian life means going somewhere, and it would be well if at each day’s end, we ask ourselves: “Am I any farther on?”
Among many attributes, the saints were on the go, they were going somewhere. They saw love as an action, not just as a nice idea. The Christian variety saw in baptism a pilgrimage of grace, with a calling to extend that grace to all who were before them and all who are part of God’s reign. The author of Hebrews said it this way: “Strip down, start running — and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eye on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed — that exhilarating finish in and with God — he could put up with anything along the way … When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Hebrews 12, The Message Bible).
As part of Bethesda-by-the-Sea, we have the regular outstanding gift of walking with each other on pilgrimage, supporting each other during good times and bad, and offering love and forgiveness along the way. With the saints, past and present, we are on the go, venturing toward closeness with God and each other — seeing love as an action, not just a good idea.
Have a blessed All Saints tide!