Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
It is good to be back with the People of God here at All Saints. I would not be truthful though, if I did not admit that returning to the real world after my sabbatical has been a challenge. My time away allowed me to spend 40 days and nights with my son, Justin in France and Spain as we walked the ancient pilgrimage "Camino de Santiago" or The Way of St. James. I was also very fortunate to be able to spend two months alone with my wife in Ireland, Scotland, Colorado, New Mexico and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Such a blessing this was. On Tuesday night at our Vestry meeting I shared with them that the two months with Chris had been amazing and that I fell in love all over again. Two amazing blessings! I thank the entire parish for their support during this time.
For those of you who followed my blog while Justin and I walked the Camino these musings may not be so new. For those who did not follow me you are still able to go to my blog and read about my experiences at http://theway2016blog.wordpress.com
I'm sure that much of my time with you in the near future will be filled with stories, allegories and parables of my time on the Camino. Just talking about and sharing stories about the amazing people I met and fell in love with are enough to fill many conversations.
Just yesterday I received an e-mail from one of my fellow "peregrinos" who we walked with for a number of days. Matthew is a photographer in New York City whose spiritual discipline during his 35 days on the Camino was NOT to take a camera. As a photographer he was afraid the camera would become a safety net or a distraction and limit his "experience." Now that's a discipline. In his e-mail he writes, "It's been quite curious being back as I was just talking with a friend about how the "old way" contrasts with the "new way" that was discovered and how the two become one... the more I talk about and reflect, it occurs to me that things may go back, yet I will never go back to what was. You can't and quite honestly, why would you! With that said, I guess the challenge becomes on how to live in this new found self and this new found awareness. Honestly, at times, it's confusing and as a friend from the Camino shared, it's like being lost in the right direction. I am just trying to be patient and gentle with myself during this time and flow with it. The Camino and the people I met were by far some of the greatest I have met thus far in my life."
What strikes me the most was when he writes, "...it's like being lost in the right direction." What's powerful about it for me is that it expresses not only the transformation and newness one discovers by walking a pilgrimage, it also states where we should be finding ourselves as Christians. The world around us tells us to worship things other than God and Jesus, they tell us to buy, buy, buy and we'll be happy; it tells us that we should look a certain way to be loved. I could go on and on but I hope you see my point. As Christians always pointing ourselves toward Jesus Christ we may, at times, feel like we're lost, going in the wrong direction when compared to the ways of the world, yet by following Christ we are going in the "right" direction.
See ya Sunday!
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