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1.1.15 … Happy New Year! … Blessings on your pilgrimage in 2015!

Pilgrimage, Devotional:  i wrote the devotional for PW at my church.  I think it pulls together  much of what I experienced in 2014.
What is a Pilgrimage?
Back in 2013 Kirk Hall preached on the Transfiguration. His sermon was entitled,  “A Glimpse of Glory.”  From that day I was also quite struck by the Affirmation of Faith …
“We believe Christ gives us and demands of us lives in pilgrimage toward God’s kingdom. Like Christ we may enjoy on our journey all that sustains life and makes it pleasant and beautiful. No more than Christ are we spared the darkness, ambiguity, and threat of life in the world. We are in the world, but not of the world. Our confidence and hope for ourselves and other people do not rest in the powers and achievements of this world, but in the coming and hidden presence of God’s kingdom. Christ calls each of us to a life appropriate to that kingdom: to serve as he has served us; to take up our cross, risking the consequences of faithful discipleship; to walk by faith, not by sight, to hope for what we have not seen. (Declaration of Faith, 9.5)” (Source: http://www.firstpres-charlotte.org/bulletins/bulletin.pdf)
 
So, what is a Pilgrimage?
Our Church is orchestrating a 2016 Pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  According to the brochure it is an opportunity whereby “Each traveler will connect to a different facet of the Holy Lands whether it’s the feel of the land, the antiquity of the place or the history come to life. Evenings will include devotions and a time for reflection.”  And it is necessary to prepare for the encounter and experience by studying scripture, researching archeology, learning biblical history, and gaining an understanding of all these through a review of contemporary issues.
So how can you experience a life in pilgrimage towards God’s kingdom?   Find a practice that promotes your movement toward God.  It can be a dedicated Bible study, centered prayer, meditation, or even going on a dedicated travel opportunity such as the Church’s Holy Land Pilgrimage.  It does not have to expensive, but it does need to be intentional and dedicated toward gaining a glimpse of God’s glory.
I personally have found pilgrimage through the practice of walking labyrinths. A labyrinth is a uni-circular pathway.
 “In some cultures, the circling pathway simulates the movement of planets in the solar system. The spiritual journey is the main focus of the Labyrinth experience. Walking and resting simulate the believer’s movement through life. In Medieval times, Christians who wanted to journey to the Holy Land would approximate that pilgrimage in a local labyrinth walk and with Bible stories as a guide. Some believers pray the labyrinth journey to become clear on the direction for life and walk with a prayer phrase such as the mantra, “Show me the way, I will follow.” This may lead to surrendering and allowing the Spirit to lead the way.” Source: http://rockhilloratory.blogspot.com/2009/04/oratory-labyrinth-prayer-garden.html
 
For years, my favorite passage has been Psalm 46:10 which states, “Be still and know that I am God.”  One interpretation for “be still” is “surrender.”
Pilgrimage is surrendering and that can be done in many ways, but ultimately all pilgrimages lead the believer to know God in all his glory. 
Blessings on your pilgrimage in 2015!
December 19, 2014

Kith/kin, memories, Atlanta, Thomasville GA, Louisville KY, :

Memories of New Year’s Celebrations …

As a child I remember my parents would host a small party. Everyone would arrive by 7 and they would have dinner and then they would go to a movie. While they were out, my sister, my brother and I would decorate the house, and then when the adults came back, we would listen to the “adults” cheer in the New Year.

And then there was the year that my dad went down to Rich’s and bought a color tv, our first. There was one condition, it had to be delivered by 5 pm on New Year’s Eve. It was, and we watched the Rose Bowl Parade and whatever bowl game Alabama was playing in “in living color.”

As a high school and college student, I would go downtown in Atlanta to the neon Coke sign which was later moved. I remember one year, we were taking Champagne with us and my mother gave me an antique monogrammed linen Champagne “napkin” which was lost in the celebration My mother was not too pleased with me.

One year I was in Louisville for the New Year, and my always industrious now brother in law Bito and his friends decided they needed some money, so they cooked the traditional NYD southern good luck meal and sold them to family and friends.

In the married but before kids period, John and I were visiting Julie and Doug in Thomasville GA. We were going to stay at the “farm” for the night. Julie’s family’s housekeeper had fixed a picnic dinner. It was one of the best meals I ever ate. I know it included quail. The good life.

And then there was San Francisco … Mike and Diane got married in SF on New Year’s Eve. Black tie, etc. … but Diane had kids from her first marriage so there was this wonderful element of whimsy. She had a balloon artist making balloon hats, etc. Happy Anniversary, Mike and Diane!!

After kids, while my parents were in Pineview, I arrived after driving 16+ hours right before midnight (after being pulled for weaving on the last 12 mile stretch from Hawkinsville … cop told me my old clunker van with Illinois plates was suspicious because of all the drug trade) and put the kids to bed. My mom and I went out and watched one of the most beautiful meteor showers I have ever seen.

Another New Year’s Eve during that era, I was driving back from Georgia and the weather was very bad. My friends Ruth Ann and Tim demanded that I stop in Louisville for the night. I yielded to their better judgement. We went sledding at midnight and it was glorious. My kids had not been sledding like that in years since snow was iffy in NC and Chicago is basically flat. The next morning we went to Lynn’s Paradise Cafe, a funky Louisville restaurant where folks went in their pajamas on New year’s Day, and Jack, probably 11, asked if he could have lobster with his eggs. Sure … and he loved it!

Other than that I am usually in bed by 11 … watching the tv and keeping an eye out for 3 kids … and that era is almost over.

Happy New Year!

New Year’s good luck foods: I’m cooking black-eyed peas, turnips and ham.

To dig a little deeper, I chose four popular regional American good luck foods of the new year—the pork and sauerkraut of the Midwest, the greens and black-eyed peas of the South, the pickled herring of Scandinavian immigrants, and the lentils of Italian-Americans—on a quest for the facts behind the fortune.

via The True Story of Traditional New Year’s Lucky Foods | Serious Eats.


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