Thanks to Barry Land for today’s reflection.
This past week I was intending to be in Lincolnshire for a walking holiday – a 52 mile route through the rolling hills of the Lincolnshire Wolds. It was to be a pilgrimage to Lincoln Cathedral calling in at 15 parish churches along the way, taking note of a verse from the Psalms from each church noticeboard, meditating on the verse on the paths to the next church. Having noted the verse in my Pilgrim’s Diary, I would then receive an embossed stamp in my diary at Lincoln Cathedral – not unlike the Pilgrim badges that were awarded to pilgrims in mediaeval times.
Of course, I had to cancel the whole trip. Not essential travel, no places open to stay overnight, and the cathedral itself is closed too. So instead last week I walked the Essex ‘Wolds’ around Elmdon and Chrishall calling at the two parish churches – but there were no verses on their noticeboards!
What verse would you choose to write on our church noticeboard? Would it be something familiar, like ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that all who believe in Him would not perish but have eternal life’? Or the verse on display within the church – ‘You have not been this way before’ (an apt verse for a walking holiday)?
Or perhaps something comforting like ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.’
There is a place for familiar and comforting scriptures. The Gideons quote many at the front of their Bibles for when people in some kind of distress need to read words they may recognise. And you may feel that the world is in distress at the moment, largely due to Covid-19, but also because of racial disharmony, economic upheaval and the usual ills of society generally.
But there’s also a need to be challenged, like we were last Sunday to dive into the deep waters of the Spirit, or to shake ourselves from apathy or tiredness or just waiting for things to change. How about ‘But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up?’ Proverbs 6v9. Or ‘How can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?’ Romans 10v14
Or even, ‘So
Perhaps we need to remind ourselves each morning that God does really love the world including you and me, and even though we are travelling through times that we may not have been through before, he does not want us to feel burdened. If we yoke ourselves to Jesus by the power of his Spirit we may find that his will for us is totally refreshing. And we can rise to the challenges he sets.
“No foes shall stay his might; though he with giants fight, he will make good his right to be a pilgrim.” John Bunyan.
Being a pilgrim is more than just reaching Lincoln Cathedral.