Pilgrimage in Prayer and Worship
A great many Bible passages link to pilgrimage in its various
aspects. Just a few are listed below with brief thoughts:
The pillar of cloud and fire
Such guidance in the context of the Judean wilderness was perhaps
more nebulous than we sometimes imagine; calling for
A transformational "sacred centre" experience, followed by a
descent & re-entry to "normality".
The Emmaus Road
The dispirited disciples met Jesus on their walk, they listened to
him open the Word, they offered him hospitality - and recognized
him at the table.
Paul and Luke's call to Macedonia
Not clear signposting, but "we concluded that God was calling
us...". Remaining open to the Spirit of God in all planning and
Again, there is a rich supply of relevant hymnody; see
especially the "Our journey with God" section in Singing the Faith
(455-488) several of which the following specifically mention
StF 611 Brother, sister, let me serve you
StF 755 We walk his way
3: Prayer and reflection
- Methodist Prayer Handbook 2015-16 "To be a pilgrim"
- Refugees as pilgrims? Pilgrims as refugees?
Potential to link pilgrimage with current news stories about
migration, (the Pilgrim Fathers & Mothers were also
Again, poems on pilgrimage are many and the following selection
is far from comprehensive:
- Pilgrimage by R.S. Thomas. "He is such a fast God, always
before us and leaving as we arrive" highlights the compulsion and
the paradox of pilgrimage - we seek to "come see the place where he
lay", yet are aware that "He is not here".
- His Pilgrimage by Walter Raleigh
Possibly written in captivity the
night before he died and reflecting on life and death as a
- The Pilgrimage by George Herbert. A poem which
references John Bunyan's classic A Pilgrim's Progress
- Mapsby Holly Ordway. A contemporary poem which connects
ancient maps with today's SatNav.
- First Steps, Brancasterby Malcolm Guite. Reflecting on a
first outing after injury.
6: Prayer and Pilgrimage
- A brief exercise which could be used in a worship or study
context and could give rise to pilgrimage in local situation:
- PLACE: Where is your holy place/sacred
centre/important site? Could that site become part of a
pilgrimage? If you asked your congregation/group/friends the
same question, what might result?
- HISTORY/TRADITION: What event from history
(biblical to last week) grabs your imagination? Could that
incident give rise to pilgrimage? If you asked your
congregation/group/friends the same question, what might
result? What other objects/experiences/happenings could lend
themselves to pilgrimage? Art? Music?
- FAITH/DOUBT/MISSION: What matters most?
How do we prioritise? What are we carrying? How could
pilgrimage help? With whom locally could we be in
partnership? Ecumenical/inter-faith partners;
schools/colleges; rambling/walking groups/local history
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