“It is a pilgrimage, not a hike.
Pilgrimages are more about stopping than going.
You stop your own life and step out of the familiar world so that
you can look and listen, reflect and change.
You strip away all that is unnecessary so that
you can hear the voice of God in your life. “
Fr. Peter Daly
On Saturday I went on a Pilgrimage of Prayer, walking from downtown Tacoma to the NW Detention Center, with a group from World Relief. (https://worldreliefseattle.org/detainees). The contemplative experience involved stops along the way to consider those who are experiencing, whether inside or outside the facility, the impact of immigrant detention. Walking the streets, hearing the sounds of trains and cars, smelling the salt air from Commencement Bay, we encountered the senses as an embodied prayer, personally and communally. The shared experience brought our group together while also engaging our hearts and minds with those we don’t necessarily know. Emotionally, physically, and mentally, something shifted in me.
That’s what pilgrimages do – the shared experience connects us to others, whether those on the trail or those who come to mind as we walk. By allowing the surroundings to take hold in our whole self, we begin to notice what can be often overlooked in the busyness of life. Entering into an unfamiliar place, a disorienting place, our imbalance opens up a place in us for newness. And as a result, we are changed.
This experience of pilgrimage is how I see our Soul Care groups in Selah. We enter into a shared experience of a spiritual practice, hopefully one that opens up our heart-soul-mind to allow the voice of God to whisper in our otherwise noisy lives. Encountering the Spirit personally, we discover through conversation and trust that others, right alongside us, are also seeking a relationship with God. We walk with intention, allowing the disruption that comes with meeting the Mystery of God, to change us.
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