"I am the vine; you are the branches." — John 15:5

“Seeds of Grace” “On the Road Again…”

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The scriptures, both the Hebrew Old Testament and the new are full of stories about journey, virtually every one with a purpose, albeit that purpose not always apparent at the outset. The story of Abraham and Sarah, the Exodus,  Jonah on his cruise; journeys into the wilderness, the disciples’ heading out on missions, the Road to Emmaus, Paul’s travels…in the biblical narratives some people travel alone, others, in community.  Each journey invariably had impact on more than the specific personalities involved.

Christian pilgrimage was first made to sites connected with the birth, life, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Aside from the early example of Origen in the third century, surviving descriptions of Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land date from the 4th century, when pilgrimage was encouraged by church fathers including Saint Jerome, and established by Saint Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great…about whom we know a little bit here  at St. Helen’s.

Pilgrimages were, and are, also made to Rome and other sites associated with the apostles, saints and Christian martyrs, the Virgin Mary and the relics, wells, waters, healings and so on associated with each holy place.  A popular pilgrimage tour is along the Way of St. James to the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, in Spain, where the shrine of the apostle James is located. Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales recounts tales told by Christian pilgrims on their way to Canterbury Cathedral and the shrine of Thomas Becket. There are pilgrimage sites around the world, from Iona, Scotland to Lourdes, France, to Mexico, Turkey, Italy and in Canada, at Midland, several place in Quebec and the Bruce Trail, among them.

Question for Reflection:  Is travel to a pilgrimage site something that I might undertake? (There are people in the parish who can speak with you about their Camino de Compostela and Holy Land experiences!)

Aside:  Are you roasting vegetables or a chicken?  Add garlic!  Take a whole unpeeled garlic bulb; slice off the top 1/8th”(put the bits in the chicken).  Wrap the bulb in foil and drizzle with olive oil and a healthy grind of black pepper.  Roast until soft. Leave in the papery outer covering until you use it for vinaigrette, in a stir fry, stew, soup, bruschetta etc.