Day 23 of Pilgrimage

Friday 11 September 2020

On Sunday I arrive at St Paul’s Cathedral Bendigo after completing 250k. Just to keep everything above board – here is a snapshot of my walking to the end of yesterday

The early mornings are getting warmer and I am experiencing some lovely sunrises over the Dandenong Ranges. One of the things occupying my thinking as I walk (apart from praying for the places I am virtually walking through!)  is the state of the ‘church’ in this lockdown period. On the one hand we are keeping the community together – staying connected while socially distance. It is not easy and I think it will get a bit harder in the weeks to come as we consider activities like annual meetings, setting budgets for the coming year, and what will Christmas look like! On the other hand we are experiencing more people tuning into our Sunday Eucharists. We need to find new ways to connect with people given our limitations. What is God saying to the church today. I am reminded of the saying that “God is God and everything else is provisional!” What things are we going to leave behind when we come out of this period of lockdown and what new ways of being church are budding waiting to be discovered.

I enjoyed a warm welcome from Dean Elizabeth in anticipation of virtually arriving on Sunday at the Anglican Cathedral in Bendigo. Here is the recording:

I was also given this pilgrim poem to reflect upon on my travels. It is excellent:

Although I may have traveled all the roads,
crossed mountains and valleys from East to West,
if I have not discovered the freedom to be myself,
I have arrived nowhere.

Although I may have shared all of my possessions
with people of other languages and cultures;
made friends with Pilgrims of a thousand paths,
or shared albergues with saints and princes,
if I am not capable of forgiving my neighbor tomorrow,
I have arrived nowhere.

Although I may have carried my pack from beginning to end
and waited for every Pilgrim in need of encouragement,
or given my bed to one who arrived later than I,
given my bottle of water in exchange for nothing;
if upon returning to my home and work,
I am not able to create brotherhood
or make happiness, peace and unity,
I have arrived nowhere.

Although I may have had food and water each day,
and enjoyed a roof and shower every night;
or may have had my injuries well attended,
If I have not discovered in all that the love of God,
I have arrived nowhere.

Although I may have seen all the monuments
and contemplated the best sunsets;
although I may have learned a greeting in every language
or tried the clean water from every fountain;
if I have not discovered who is the author
of so much free beauty and so much peace,
I have arrived nowhere.

If from today I do not continue walking on my path,
searching far and living according to what I have learned;
if from today I do not see in every person, friend or foe
a companion on the Camino;
if from today I cannot recognize God,
the God of Jesus of Nazareth
as the one God of my life,
I have arrived nowhere.



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