This year’s journey on the Way of Saint James/Jakobsweg/Via Jacobi/Chemin St Jacques/Camino Santiago has become instead a pilgrimage to Iona, in Scotland. As many of you know, a pilgrim follows the call, wherever it leads. And this year it leads to the Iona Community, where we will be attending a weeklong retreat with John Phillip Newell, a well-known scholar of Celtic spirituality. I have been reading his books for years, and when this opportunity arose, it seemed the right call to answer. Another year, I will return to the long walks.
This is not a solitary pilgrimage. I am traveling in community, with a group from my parish, Grace Episcopal Church. Some of us are veterans, some are new to the parish, some are friends yet to be made. Just like any other pilgrim band.
At our send-off, we received this blessing. It’s a good one for any pilgrim setting off.
You call us, God, to leave familiar things and to leave our “comfort zone”.
May you who travel from Grace on pilgrimage to Scotland open your eyes to new experiences, may you open your ears to hear God speaking to you, and may you open your hearts to God’s love.
May you experience the freedom to wander, the freedom to hope and the freedom to love as you journey.
May God the Father who created you, guide your footsteps.
May God the Son who redeemed you, share your journey.
May God the Holy Spirit who sanctifies you, lead you on life’s pilgrimage.
And the blessing of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be with you wherever you may go. Amen.