Are you a spiritual tourist or pilgrim? If you are a tourist, St. Dunstan’s Church and Christianity have a lot to offer. You can have good experiences and make some good friends. If you are a pilgrim, Christ and St. Dunstan’s Church will change your life. That’s the difference between a vacation and a pilgrimage. Vacations are often fun, hopefully memorable, and mostly optional. A pilgrimage, on the other hand, can be challenging, may involve going places both literally and metaphorically that we are not comfortable, and can change your life forever.
Fortunately for us, our ancestors in the faith have a lot of experience with pilgrims. We have a rich tradition of Christian practices that support us in living as pilgrims. Over the Easter season as we lead up to Pentecost I will be writing on this theme. I would also like to invite you to share your stories of pilgrimage. What has worked for you as you seek to follow Christ? What practices have been rewarding? Have you gone on a mission trip to serve the needy in another place? Have you engaged in a particular prayer practice? Have you participated in a ministry or program that was richly rewarding?
There are things we can do together that just work. There are ways of living as Christians that change lives and give joy and peace. One of the most basic practices that feeds and supports Christian spiritual growth is to gather, pray, and study the scriptures with fellow Christians. We do that on Wednesday mornings with out Bible study group, but that’s really just a taste of what is possible.
This weekend we are starting our Care Teams ministries. On Saturday we will have an orientation for the people who have signed up to be on care teams. Then, on Sunday, we will commission our care teams in our Sunday worship services. Care teams are one of the rich ways we can invest ourselves in our congregation as pilgrims.
Follow Christ and your life will be transformed. Put your faith in God as revealed by Jesus and you will experience resurrection life. Invest yourself in your faith as a Christian and you will receive the gift of eternal life now, in this lifetime. All of these statements are true but none will happen if we approach our faith or our participation in church as tourists.
If you invest yourself in the St. Dunstan’s congregation as a pilgrim you will experience new life. Join me over these next weeks as we look at the different ways we can become pilgrims together.
Your brother in Christ,
The Rev. David Marshall