Last Friday night, here at the Vicarage, we had a visit from our Youth
group. I say a visit it was rather more an invasion. Liz my wife leads
the group and they, that is the young people and her had decided that
this night was to be a 'Doctor Who' night.
For those who live outside the UK and have no idea what I am now
talking about I will explain Dr Who. This is a sci fi tv show which
started in the '60s. A few years ago it was revived by the BBC.
They changed the format and the focus audience to late teens early
twenties. It was a wow. So it has been playing with hour long specials
since the revival.
So they all troupe in for what is a thinly veiled party. They come as all
sorts of being from all over the Universe. They have little or no interest
in an aging Vicar, so I retreat to my study and more particularly my
computer. I start to surf and come across Garrison Keiller's show http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/www_publicradio/tools/media_player/popup.php?name=phc/2010/01/16/phc_20100116_64&starttime=01:32:44&endtime=01:47:00
I have read one of his books and enjoyed it. To find a pod cast in these
circumstances of my siege, was a delight. Since then I have thought
about the broadcast it rather a lot. I have been impressed with the last
few words where he speaks about allowing someone to come home,
whatever they have done, because it is their home, and that is what you do. .
What a wonderful way to think of what is happening to us and what
the significance of the mission of Jesus who opened the way for us to go
home. I think that we might be able to develop this idea as a means to
understand pilgrimage a little better.
I wonder what motivation causes us to decide to go on pilgrimage. I do
not think many folk can give any real answers as to why they go. It seems
in some sense, cool. So they go. Have you have heard a saying that
comes from seasoned pilgrims. ' You do not choose the Camino, the
Camino chooses you.' Which means that the time comes when pilgrimage
is most beneficial and at that point things come together in such
a way that results on you going. In my case I recognise that
this is true. I did not see it at the time when I first planned to go,but
the need was there. I could not see it. Only after the plans
were made did a great big abyss open at my feet and all the stuff of
the years that I had not dealt with flooded out. It was time for a life
sort out. There was no stopping it, it had to happen then. I was dragged
kicking and screaming into it. I am glad it happened as it made me
a different person in the process.
As I look back on it all, I can see clearly that it was the call of home.
The picture at the head of the piece is called 'Homeward bound'. The girls
portrayed are not pilgrims, but they could be. I've seen a few looking just
like them on the Camino. The call home is to the place where I
belong. At the start I was unaware of this call, but it took hold of me to
bring me to the place that was home. I have not arrived there
yet, as heaven is home. I am still travelling. The pilgrim still on the
Many people on pilgrimage begin as walkers and finish as pilgrims.
The soft sound of home falls on the dull ears that cannot even hear
the music of home. It is there though. And it heals the ears, the mind and
the heart. Some finish their first pilgrimage with ears healed and fully
tuned to the music of home. Others can just make out a muffled,
tiny noise, that might only be tinnitus. More healing is needed.
Whatever stage we come back from pilgrimage, we need to
allow the music of home to continue to fall on us. In this
way we become lifelong pilgrims, even if we do not
go back to Santiago again. It does help though to keep
setting aside times of Camino. Some find that it almost
becomes addictive. Tasting the joys of heaven, even if
it is distant has that way with you. It calls you back for
more. Jesus speaks of it as thirst. ''Blessed are those who
hunger and thirst for right living. They will be satisfied''.