“We are pilgrims on a journey. We are travellers on the road.” Words that are very familiar to us from the hymn written in 1976 by Richard Gillard from New Zealand. And words that came to mind as I was finalising the August/September issue of Contact, which contains a number of references to pilgrimage.
The main reason was that, early last month, the Fife Pilgrim Way had been officially launched, starting with a morning walk from St Margaret’s Hope to Dunfermline Abbey, where the good and the great of the land spoke about the visions of re-creating this old pilgrimage route, and a service of celebration was held. [There was good coverage of the opening of the Way in the media, and some reports are still on-line, including the Courier and the Herald]
But two quotes that stuck out for me came from an earlier article on The Times website, where Emma Yeomans posted about the growth of pilgrimage in Scotland:
“People are recognising that faith is better described not as a set of principles but as a journey. The more experience you have and more adventures in life, the more you’ll discover.” (Murdo Fraser, the Scottish Conservative MSP)“Pilgrimage helps us to step out of the routine of daily life in which we can easily become stuck, and by taking part in a physical journey our spiritual life can begin to move forward too.” (An unnamed spokeswoman for the Catholic Church)
It’s now August; the days are already getting noticeably shorter; school’s back later this month; we’re about to start again on activities that have been on hold over the summer holidays. So it’s time to start back on that journey and to continue the hymn: “We are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load.”
Finally, if you want to read a great sermon preached on “The Servant Song”, you can read what Douglas Donley had to say at this link.