Monday, February 7, 2011

Daily Pilgrimage

And Terah took Abram his son, Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife, and they went forth together to go from Ur of the Chaldees into the land of Canaan; but when they came to Haran, they settled there. -- Genesis 11:31
Nothing was inspiring me last night, so I'm a bit late posting today's missive.  I walked into my office this morning and thought: "This place needs to change."  So I rearranged the furniture in my office.  I began pondering the nature of moving things around in our life.  

The Old Testament is full of stories with the similar plot line that fairly mature, older adults get called upon to pick up and move lock, stock, and barrel to another place.  My brother wrote a story of my great-great-great grandparents picking up at the age of 71 and moving from Denmark to America.  That wins over the OT characters as far as distance goes, but what is it about moving to a new place?  I think in the OT, as well as for my g-g-g grandparents, the impulse to move comes out of the confluence of two simultaneously occurring situations.

The first situation is the place people are living becomes fraught with difficulty.  Living in the land of Ur became difficult for Terah and his family as they didn't believe in the prevailing heathen culture in which they found themselves.  So, the struggle to face the people they lived with became intense.

The second situation is that something, or better yet, Someone became more important than place.  Pursuing God and their faith provided a deeper sense of home than the geographical location in which they found themselves.

In all of the Biblical pick-up-and-move situations there is a pilgrimage quality to the move.  They aren't moving for job security or for prettier scenery.  They move in pursuit of a place that embodies for them the presence of the Divine.    This is an admirable pursuit.  We can do the same.  It is a pursuit that all of us should be open to taking.  Not so much in the physical sense, but in a spiritual sense.  Life is fed by the pilgrimages we're willing to make.  Each day we should take a few minutes, to pilgrimage to a place of solitude and pursue the Presence of the Holy. 

Lord, bless us in our travels to draw near to You.  Amen.

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