What makes a walk into a Pilgrimage?







The weather was . . . mixed . . some cloud, some sunshine, a little light rain. There were fifteen of us and the company was . . . . excellent. The Lake District scenery was, as always, stunning. So . . . we had a lovely walk. Four lovely walks, actually, and a boat trip. But not just a walk . . . a pilgrimage.

E. W. Oldenburg, the american poet, says in his poem "In Canterbury Cathedral": "The guide's voice pronounced 'Our Lord' and the words fell on us like a benediction./'Our' - incredible assumption of union offered in passing to American strangers, mortar for diverse motley stones./Time and blood redeemed from meaninglessness: two words turned sightseers into pilgrims."

Our Lord was with us on all our walks - around Windermere and Bowness towns on Monday; from Wordsworth's burial place in Grasmere, past his home and round Rydal Water on Tuesday, up the steep side of Beda Fell above Ullswater on Wednesday; from Grange through the Jaws of Borrowdale and up the side of Derwentwater on Thursday.

And not only Our Lord, but that cloud of witnesses too - the saints - Oswald and Patrick and Cuthbert and . . . Herbert - who knew there was a Saint Herbert? - they were with us too, and we thought about them, reflected on their lives and witness, as Dave Herbert, our leader, helped us. In the ruins of an ancient chapel in the hills we sang. We reflected on the wonders of nature as we looked at trees and lichens; we looked at a simple rope swing and thought about taking risks; we looked into a cave and reflected on the hard lives of miners; by the lake and by St Patrick's well we reflected on God's amazing gift of water. Sometimes we walked in companionable chatter, sometimes in equally companionable silence, with just the wind and the birdsong for background.

Yes, this was more than just a good walk. In the company of the saints, we were seeking - and finding - ourselves and each other and Our Lord.

You can read more about our Pilgrimage on the Blog pages of the United Reformed Church Northern Synod website - click here

Page last updated: 31st May 2016 5:41 PM