formation friday (well, saturday): pilgrimage

blog formation friday pilgrimageoh how i loved the shifter’s prayers that some of you shared last week, either here or on blogs or in emails.  so beautiful! i had a crazy day yesterday and never had a chance to post this reflection from a gathering i facilitated this week.

when i intersect with the bible on these kinds of exercises, i do not think of all of the ins and outs of the passages.  i just think of the ways i can connect with it.  if you are allergic to the bible right now, my suggestion is to try to unhook from focusing on all of excess baggage around it and only center on the beauty of the words & the story they might be telling for today.

many of us are on a pilgrimage of sorts–setting our intention in a new direction, walking toward something new, risking our hearts and livelihoods in different ways to seek change.   these roads are dangerous. there are thieves and robbers along the way trying to steal from us.  there are all kinds of possibilities that will cause us to turn back and return to safer ground.  but hopefully, the pull of God is more powerful and we will be compelled to continue walking in this direction.  as we do, we will eventually pass through the valley of weeping and find refreshing springs (and then the truth is, we will probably pass through it again and again). but we will grow stronger and stronger.  we will find our way, even though it might look so much different than we imagined.

my hope for me, for all of us, is that as we walk that we don’t become so focused on “getting there” (whatever there may be) that we miss the beauty & glory that’s right before us, even in the valley of weeping & the steep curves.  that we somehow can notice what is and not only what isn’t.

here’s a short journaling exercise centered around a passage i love in psalm 84:5-7.  here it is in pdf form, too, if you want to just print it out.

what joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to jerusalem.  when they walk through the valley of weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs.  the autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.  they will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in jerusalem.  – psalm 84:5-7 (NLT)

God, i am (or want to be on) on a pilgrimage toward….

the valley of weeping felt/feels so….

but i am also tasting the refreshing springs of….

the thieves and robbers along the road that keep trying to get me to turn back and go home are…

but despite these scary, discouraging things, i keep feeling you say….

 on this hard journey i really don’t want to miss….

* * * * *

have a good weekend.  today is jose & i’s 22nd wedding anniversary so its a happy day remembering all of the wild & crazy twists and turns over the years and all the ways the thieves & robbers tried to ruin us but couldn’t. see you monday.

 

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar co-pastors at The Refuge, a Christian community and mission center in North Denver and is the author of Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.

4 Comments

  • Happy Anniversary Kathy!! Thank you for this

    Your statement, “my hope for me, for all of us, is that as we walk that we don’t become
    so focused on “getting there” (whatever there may be) that we miss the
    beauty & glory that’s right
    before us, even in the valley of weeping
    & the steep curves”, reminds me of a section of a book that I read a long time ago. In the book “The Alchemist”there is a parable about some oil and a spoon, you can read it here http://www.scribd.com/doc/37023911/Alchemist-parables-Oil-Spoon-and-2-sons. Your exercises in Spiritual Formation are excellent tools to help us to keep moving forward as we heal and try to learn the lessons God is teaching us and still be able to have hearts and minds that are open to love and beauty that is all around us.

    It seems to me that the key is to maintain a humble spirit that is open to allowing God to frame our perspective on the purpose of life. I think we need God to help us stay in a place of balance that helps us press on, move forward, get unstuck, to both experience the love and beauty in our world and also not forget the “drops of oil!” IMHO ; )

    God, i am on a pilgrimage toward You

    the valley of weeping felt so crushing and painful

    but i am also tasting the refreshing springs of Your love

    the thieves and robbers along the road that keep trying to get me to turn back and go home are numerous, but impotent

    but despite these scary, discouraging things, i keep feeling you say “I love you”

    on this hard journey i really don’t want to miss You

    Reply
  • Yes, HA! And, I have to say that Psalm 84 is one that has helped me immensely over the last ten years. I first heard it preached by a very wise man visiting my former church which was about to go through a huge transition (basically, the church dissolved on purpose). I don’t know how much others were struck by it but for me, it was a metanarrative that helped me get through the process. Others may not have ‘heard it’ because the fallout was huge. Thanks for the reminder Kathy. Bless.
    Jane

    Reply

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