Tomorrow I am off on a pilgrimage "in the footsteps of Jesus", to Israel. So I am thinking of Jesus and his land, his people, his times and his impact on history - and my life. Although I've been planning this trip for quite a while, here it is now, and I have been busy with many things, which I can simply leave behind as I set out.
As well as following the Gospel narrative, I have decided to use the Psalms of Ascent (120-133) for meditation during these next few weeks. They are pilgrim songs of Biblical Jewish people going up to Jerusalem. People of faith have found in them a chronicle of the many and varied chances of the fleeting world through which we journey as Christians.
In an interesting and paradoxically helpful way, the pilgrim songs start with renunciation and rejection and alienation (Ps. 120). The pilgrim starts out keenly aware that he is out of step with the world around him. So he turns his face towards the Lord: "I call on the Lord in my distress" (120:1).
The Christian life does not always start out (or re-start) in an easy, calm way; it is often accompanied by dissatisfaction and rejection and leaving.
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