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Thought for the Week – 31st July 2022


Queues at airports and the ports, train strikes and locally, trying to work out which roads are still open; travel at the moment is not easy. For most of us, the journey is little more than an irritation; we travel simply to arrive at our destination. But there is another way, where the journey itself is more significant than the destination; this is pilgrimage. To go on a pilgrimage is a spiritual exercise, the journey is a way of travelling deeper into ourselves. Pilgrimage is open to anyone who is wants to explore their own spirituality, whatever they might call that. Abdul Rashid, the England cricketer, has recently been talking about the Haj, his pilgrimage to Mecca. Undertaking this once in a life is considered a duty for a pious Muslim and it is clear it has had significant benefits for Abdul. He has spoken to his team-mates about how it has taught him patience, self-discipline and gratitude; all important attributes for a professional sportsman. Of course, there are other ways of learning these, but I suspect the experience of the pilgrimage will stay with Abdul and will have changed him.

Billingsley Church is part of the “Small Pilgrim Places” network, but all of our churches are places where anyone can go to pause and reflect. There are many other places around us that also have this spiritual quality. And perhaps, if going to one of these, you get stuck behind a tractor or at traffic lights, that is also an opportunity to accept the delay and live in the moment, on your pilgrimage.

Rev David Poyner