Why do Christians go on pilgrimages? Several reasons. First, to enrich our imagination. When I first went to Israel, I spent a day sitting along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. I looked across the lake to the same brown hills that Jesus would have seen. The sun was warm, and there were two fishing boats with gray sails out on the water. All at once I could imagine Jesus standing in a fishing boat, a little way out on the lake, teaching the crowds on the shore and giving them hope. Now years later, remembering that scene helps my imagination live into the Gospel Story.
Second, pilgrimages remind us that God works in specific times and places. Christianity is not an abstract philosophy. It is a story about God bursting into people’s lives in specific times and in definite places. And changing history! I remember visiting the medieval Celtic monastery at Clonmacnoise, where St. Kieran founded a school that helped the Irish save civilization. Clonmacnoise taught thousands of Celtic people how to read and write, and it put them in touch with the Gospel Story. Going on pilgrimage to Clonmacnoise (six or eight times now) reminds me that God changes history though heroes like Kieran, in specific times and places.
Finally, pilgrimages remind us that Christian life is a journey. Often our lives seem random and without purpose. Taking time off, setting time apart to make a pilgrimage, actually moving from one place towards another – all these help us to remember that God’s time is an arrow, not an endless weary circle. Jesus is leading us through life to a definite goal, namely celebration forever in His presence. I have a friend who made a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Millions have made that same journey on foot, over the last thousand years. My friend wrote a book about his pilgrimage, called The Way is Made By Walking. That long trek reminds Christians that life itself has a goal and a purpose. Every step counts!
-Dr. Les Fairfield
Holy Land & Biblical Jordan with Bishop Alden & Barbara Hathaway February 2-13, 2018
Join Bishop Alden and Barbara Hathaway on this incredible journey to the Holy Land and Biblical Jordan. Together, enjoy the sights, sounds, smells and excitement of Israel. The freshness of the Mediterranean, the quaint businesses of Nazareth, the tranquil beauty of Galilee, the busy majestic wonder of Jerusalem, its ancient streets, its bazaar and its people, its color golden in the sunset.
A Pilgrimage to the Holy Land with St. Francis Episcopal Church February 19 - March 1, 2018 Led by the Rev. Stuart Bates and the Rev. Dr. Peter Walker
This February, St. Francis Episcopal Church will begin the pilgrimage to the Holy Land to be near Christ and the land of his birth, life and ministry and where his death and resurrection changed the world. Joined by The Rev. Dr. Peter Walker, a New Testament professor, author and seasoned guide.
"From Jerusalem to the Ends of the Earth": Sailing into the New Testament World June 24 - July 01, 2018 Led by the Archbishop Emeritus Robert Duncan and the Rev. Dr. Peter Walker
Next June’s journey will be a great opportunity to see a good number of Pauline sites within just one week, including places Paul visited on both his second and third missionary journey’s (Acts 16-20). Walking the streets of Ephesus, Rhodes, Athens, and Corinth, traveling across the Aegean Sea: these are all ways of seeing Paul’s world that will make the New Testament come alive for you in a whole new way. And then there’s the added bonus of sailing to Patmos to see the place where St. John the Divine wrote the Book of Revelation. Please join us as we enjoy this beautiful part of the world, so rich in its history and significance. It will also be great fun! Traveling together will give us the experience of being on vacation with fellow GAFCON attendees and friends, giving us time to reflect on all that we have experienced together in Jerusalem, as well as the opportunity to meet new people and see new places. $2,795 per person.
Holy Land & Biblical Jordan with Father McGugan and Peter Walker Christ Church Denver September 30 - October 12, 2018
This September and October, Christ Church Denver will begin the pilgrimage to the Holy Land to be near Christ and the land of his birth, life and ministry and where his death and resurrection changed the world. Joined by The Rev. Dr. Peter Walker, a New Testament professor, author and seasoned guide.