Beyond Lent, the intense emotions aroused are slowly being re-focussed into a new awareness that pervades every part of life… intensity dissipated as life returns: to live at such a height is unsustainable. Who, I find myself wondering, has tried to live at this fine intersection of Crucifixion and Resurrection – and was it ever attempted, even by the mystics?
Something of the fading shimmer will remain – Moses’ face slowly lost its unviewable intensity, yet the memory of that shimmering gold has permeated all life. We move to a rhythm that takes us ever closer to what we seek.
‘Seeking Gold’ timelessly, ancient footsteps pressed down into hard ground and the myriad feet marks superimposed, as the multitude follow.. nameless.
A pilgrimage of grace. And re-creating this sense of joy and journey, leads to pilgrimage – a Pilgrimage Trail for the 2012 Olympics. A suggestion taken up, a warm affirmation, and a charge to see this come into being. Who could expect that being invited to a Diocesan Committee might involve any more than a brief moment to voice an idea? Or that nearly 2 hours could be given to hearing the suggestion, seeing the Brochure, forming a plan: and commissioning it!
Expectations of 60,000 visitors each day of the Olympics, coming to Weymouth, must mean some will look for a day out – and finding our Brochure, head for the little churches on the trail. Each church has its own Pilgrim Badge – and children collecting one from each of the churches will qualify for a ‘Super-Gold’ badge, saying “Seek and you shall find GOLD”
So there comes a visit to each of the clergy and each of the ten churches – 400 miles of linked visits – sharing the excitement, asking for volunteers to welcome Pilgrims, a place to display leaflets offering simple/profound insights into matters of faith, and ones offering a gentle tour round the church with a prayer attached to each stopping point. Then, at the church, seeing for myself the approach, accessibility, loos, parking, and how welcoming it actually appears to the new eye…
Some things to draw gently into attention: the pile of unused books occupying a pew, the old notices wavering on the board – how few churches display any contact details for enquirers.
And then… the moments of sheer delight: entering a light-filled church, where there is a palpable sense of welcome, with a comfortable chair in a sunny corner [replacing two pews] and within touch of a bookshelf, a picture displayed for meditation.
‘How shall we reach them?’ constant refrain of those who want others to join them in the pews…yet it is the pilgrimage that is the meeting point, the accompanying, the hospitality of love. Conformity is for the insecure, but for the questioner here is an open space without answers but with grace to grow.