Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church

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Rector's Corner

Pilgrims

  • The Rev. Dr. Bill Murray
  • Feb 05, 2020
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We are pilgrims on the journey
We are travelers on the road
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load
The Servant Song

For the first 20 or more years of our faith, followers of Jesus were known simply as Followers of the Way. “Christian” didn’t come into vogue until someone in Antioch called us that name and it was recorded in the Book of Acts (Acts 11:26). Since I learned this little fact, I have fallen in love with the earlier name. Something about the Way or Followers of the Way gives an idea of movement, of action, of pilgrimage. We don’t wait for God to come to us; we follow. We don’t wait for the perfect master plan; we continue walking. Going on pilgrimage then is simply a part of our journey. We follow Christ on the Way.

With that in mind, we, the staff, have been working to introduce or re-introduce pilgrimages to our community. The idea is to offer an international destination for our High School Youth on even years and an international destination for our adults on odd years. As we have explored these ideas, others options for pilgrimage have popped up. A group traveled to Ireland last summer because of a shared interest and love for the Emerald Isle. Others have joined in the Diocesan pilgrimage to Ghana and the Diocese of the Cape Coast. I am glad that our parish is so involved and willing to jump into these adventures.

This summer, I will travel with our High School Youth on the pilgrimage to Greece. We will walk in the footsteps of Paul, going to Corinth, Ephesus, Athens, and Thessalonia. The Rev. John Porter, along with a great team of lay folks, will be leading a Civil Rights Pilgrimage this fall, October 2-4, 2020. The plan is to visit Selma, Montgomery, and Birmingham, Alabama, to explore the movement that continues to impact and transform our nation. Then, June 17-29, 2021, I will be leading a pilgrimage to Israel with Qumri Pilgrimages. We will walk in the footsteps of Jesus and seek to deepen our faith as we visit the Holy Lands. 

In each instance, the power of pilgrimage is never the destination. Yes, Greece and Israel, Ghana and Ireland are all exciting places to visit. The true joy and learning comes in the time spent getting to know our fellow travelers on the Way. In preparing for the journey, traveling together, reflecting with one another, and returning, we discover more about ourselves and our God. We will share more information about each of these pilgrimages very soon. I pray that these will be trips that deepen our faith, engage our hearts, and remind us that we are always pilgrims on the Way.