My Thoughts on Pilgrimage – The Road To Santiago

Iโ€™ve very recently been watching a programme on the BBC โ€“ Pilgrimage – The Road To Santiagoย I was so heartened to see a programme on the subject of Christianity, involving a fairly open discussion. Especially during Lent. As a Christian myself, I often feel that we are an ever decreasing minority. So unsurprisingly, I was encouraged.

The Programme

I very much admire the people who took part and who made themselves vulnerable physically and emotionally. It was no small feat! Two weeks of hiking a journey of 800km which took them through France and northern Spain on the medieval pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and the shrine of St James. In sweltering heat. With very basic facilities and supplies. Sharing their thoughts and experiences with the viewing public. And putting their bodies through a punishing route. (The wine fountain was amazing.)

Picture_20180331_122154819

As much as I enjoyed the whole experience. There was a little nudge going on for me throughout. An opportunity I felt, missed. Perhaps it was I who missed the point. But the emphasis seemed to be more about Religion than Faith.

I can completely understand that if a person has a painful experience in any setting, they may well avoid or reject it.ย I know, easy for me to say. The closest Iโ€™ve come to fear in a faith setting was a terrifying Sunday School teacher or reading at a Service! I have however, experienced fear in other settings.

Faith or Religion?

I feel sad, however. As to me Religion and Faith are two very differing things. I had hoped the theme would develop. Of course, as viewers, we are not party to many of the private conversations that would have taken place.

I had hoped to see a greater awareness raised about how far away legalism, i.e. Religion, is from Faith. It doesnโ€™t say in Scripture โ€˜now Religion is confidence inโ€™ etc it says…

Hebrews 11:1 NIV โ€˜Now FAITH is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not seeโ€™.

If you have a moment and feel inclined, do read Hebrews 11 in full. It is wonderful.

https://hopefoundinme.wordpress.com/2018/03/31/my-thoughts-on-pilgrimage-the-road-to-santiago/

Knowing Self

I donโ€™t by any means profess to be a Theologian or Historian. But I do hope I have a growing understanding of relationship with God. We can never claim to have fully grasped that, the presence ย of God is too vast. But I think they were so close to touching on that, but it was missed. Again, from what was broadcast. I could have missed it.

I know that the programme was very much about self-discovery. And yes, I absolutely agree. We do need to truly know who we are. But faith takes you beyond self. It is in letting go of self, that the opportunity to meet God presents itself.ย 

Pilgrimage

The Pilgrimage being that opportunity. Worldly pressure and demands temporarily removed. Giving time for dialogue. To listen. To hear. That expression โ€˜let go and let Godโ€™ comes to mind.

How do I know this? Am I a Pilgrim? Of sorts I could be. I can’t claim to have hiked 800km from under my duvet! I didnโ€™t always have the full understanding that God isnโ€™t a process. It’s not about the rote that people can be so very good at implementing.

Although in fairness there was reference to the New Testament being the new word. The old law has gone.

2Corinthians 5:17 NIV – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

And

Hebrews 8:13 NIV – By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.

How do I know?

I said a moment ago that I am a pilgrim of sorts. My personal Pilgrimage takes the form of Chronic Illness. I can very rarely attend a church service in a church building, I spent & spend a lot of time alone and see very few Christians in person.

All that I had established in my faith life was rapidly stripped away. All that was left was God. No trappings, no opinions, no routines. Nothing. It was and is, prayer, The Bible and God. And for a very long time I couldnโ€™t read. So prayer was the breakthrough. And even that was hard. One word was often all it was.

Christ made an appearance on the edge of my bed. And I knew from that moment on, I was not alone. God hadnโ€™t deserted me or sat waiting for me in a church pew until I could get there. He was the visitor bringing food, the listening ear, the caring neighbour, the husband standing with me through thick and thin.

And yes again. That was expressed more than once during the series.

Closing thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed the programmes. The journey. The route. Seeing the friendships and understanding develop, and the respect for each others viewpoint shared with much grace and kindness. So, there is a lot to be said for that.

As you can probably tell, I feel quite passionate about this. That is what God does. He spurs you on. So, I hope for the people taking part. That they will see God beyond the trappings and past pain. I’m not ย trying to trivialize any one person’s experience. Many described must have been unimaginably hard. But God is not about control or losing freedoms. Being a Christ follower is freedom.

Prayer

I hope that a seed has been sown. That they will know that many Christians will be going to their quiet place over the coming days. They will be writing the names of the folk who took part, in their prayer journals, and praying for them to have an encounter with God. Amen!

Thanks so much for reading. I’ve so enjoyed discussing this.

Have a blessed day and a wonderful Easter.๐ŸŒธ I’ll certainly miss be splashed with Holy Water this weekend!๐Ÿ’ฆ

Penny ~ Hope found in M.E.๐ŸŒธ

Chosen Tune ๐ŸŽต๐Ÿ‘‡

Do not be afraid – Christopher Williams

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSIONยฎ, NIVยฎ Copyright ยฉ 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.โ„ข Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Thank you also to Biblehub.comย , You Versionย &ย BibleGateway.comย for online Scripture search facilities

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16 thoughts on “My Thoughts on Pilgrimage – The Road To Santiago

  1. A very interesting element with seeing God at the edge of the bed, and seeing how his presence was in all of the good things, the blessings, in life. It’s so heartening to hear how you’ve found such strength in your own personal pilgrimage and how you related to the programme (which I’ve not seen myself). Thank you for sharing. Wishing you a lovely Easter weekend xx
    Caz

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Caz, for such an encouraging comment. So kind of you. I can definitely say that faith keeps me going. If you manage to watch the programme, I hope you enjoy it. Thank you for stopping by. A lovely Easter Weekend to you also. Penny โค

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it is great that you know the difference between faith and the kind of religiosity that sometimes gets between people and their experience of the divine–it is wonderful that you feel a real connection with your spiritual life, especially with health difficulties.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very very thought provoking…..to have faith is a wonderful thing…to know whether we do indeed have faith…knowing what it is and recognising its influence and its affects on our everyday thoughts and feelings. Do I have faith….? What is a GOOD Christian? Can we have faith and not be religious but still be a good Christian…. Faith is what brings me closer to peace of mind…it takes away the fear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by to comment, Lizzie. I really appreciate it.

      My response to your thoughts. I so love that you shared them. Being a Christian is following His word, His precepts, you won’t go far wrong. Well, saying that I slip up more than once daily! Accepting Jesus into your life, is a life changing moment.

      I’m not sure any of us are ‘good’ per se. We’re simply forgiven, deeply loved & can just do the best we can. John 13:34b …’as I have loved you, so you must love one another’.

      Put simply, in my opinion, faith is not religion. Even though a dictionary translation may say they are one in the same.

      And yes, I absolutely agree with you. Faith brings peace, & freedom from fear. And you have a huge heart for caring
      ๐Ÿ’– which conveys so much love.

      Maybe one day we’ll take Communion together & I will sob. Love you ๐Ÿ˜˜ xxx

      Like

  4. I know I have gotten caught in the ‘rules’ and then God drew me in to understand what grace means and to dive deeper into my identity in Him, not the rules of religion. So true that freedom comes from following Christ!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I donโ€™t know what to write.
    I enjoyed this piece and your writing is improving.
    I however am not good with words
    Iโ€™ll just say
    I love you
    Pete xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So glad to hear that your own personal pilgrimage has been so rewarding. I was excited to read the title of your post, because I would like to make the pilgrimage to Santiago. I guess we each seek God in our own way! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for popping by to comment, Laurie. And thanks so much for your kindness. Without faith in Christ, I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t cope. I can look way beyond the health problems & find peace, most of the time but not always. The Pilgrimage looks amazing & a challenge. A chance to be at a different life pace. I hope you have opportunity to travel it. Thanks again for stopping by. Be blessed.๐ŸŒธ

      Liked by 1 person

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