"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.




Monday, 29 November 2010

To be a Pilgrim



"A pilgrim is someone who sees life as a sacred journey, who sees the Earth as a sacred home, who sees the universe as a process."
Satish Kumar

At school we loved singing this traditional classic Christian hymn of praise and worship:


He who would valiant be ’gainst all disaster, Let him in constancy follow the Master. There’s no discouragement shall make him once relent His first avowed intent to be a pilgrim.

Who so beset him round with dismal stories
Do but themselves confound - his strength the more is.
No foes shall stay his might; though he with giants fight,
He will make good his right to be a pilgrim.

Since, Lord, Thou dost defend us with Thy Spirit,
We know we at the end, shall life inherit.
Then fancies flee away! I’ll fear not what men say,
I’ll labor night and day to be a pilgrim.

Whilst writing so much about pilgrimage over the last week or so I am reminded of two more relevant books:

Firstly Satish Kumar's lovely inspirational volume Earth Pilgrim, written with his usual directness and simplicity. Read it to be inspired and enriched.

Then there is the one I am currently reading, that I will be reviewing on Amazon shortly; Charles Foster, The Sacred Journey, written from the Christian perspective. Jesus was, he reminds us, himself a homeless itinerant preacher, a pilgrim, appealing most to the edges of society. And that is where we find God most, he tells us - at those edges. Who said being a Christian would ever be easy. Foster writes with a light style, often with wry humour, and I find his books immensely readable (see also for example The Selfless Gene, and Wired for God). He tells us we are all travellers at heart - this is our norm - (he himself is a great traveller) and I am sure he means this in the sense of travelling as a pilgrim rather than in the sense of the aimless tourist travel much derided by Satish Kumar et al.

I rather like Foster's idea that a new word is needed for Christian, as it now has too many negative connotations. How about "Jesus Freak" he suggests. OK perhaps not. Then how about "Jesus Wanderer" or "Jesus Follower." Maybe.


2 comments:

SandyCarlson said...

Interesting thoughts here. Marcus Borg rescued my faith in Jesus when the church I belonged to and the extreme ones on the move across our political landscape just about did it in. Maybe the Quakers are onto the right road by being Friends.

Eleanor said...

Indeed. I have yet to experience a Friends' meeting but have an open invite to do so. I have just finished Foster's The Sacred Journey. You may enjoy it. You can see my recent review of it posted up at Amazon.com blessings Eleanor

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