Religion points to that area of human experience where in one way or another [humans] come upon mystery as a summons to pilgrimage.
The 40 days of the Lenten season commemorate both the Israelites’ 40 years of wandering in the desert, as well as the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness. Given these themes of spiritual growth and awareness through journey, it is perhaps no surprise that, for many, Lent is a time for pilgrimage.
Last June, Kairos Earth/Church of the Woods co-led a Pilgrimage for Earth. Although it took place in the summer, the Pilgrimage was rooted in the Christian tradition of death and rebirth as exemplified in Easter. Over the course of four days, participants were asked to make or renew vows of caring for the earth, to pursue a transformative spiritual discipline that engaged directly with nature and creation, and to undertake this renewal and transformation in community.
In this Lenten season, the community at Church of the Woods carries the lessons of the Pilgrimage forward and once again prepares for renewal and continued transformation. How are you being transformed?
By Chelsea Scudder, Kairos Earth
Questions & Actions
- In the quote above, Buechner points to the idea that mystery moves us towards pilgrimage. Lent is certain a mysterious time of the calendar, engaging in practices like fasting, prayer, contemplation, and Sabbath that seem outmoded in our modern society. How has your experience of Lent thus far been filled with mystery? How has it felt like a pilgrimage? Share your thoughts below.
- Choose a part of Chelsea’s outline for the Pilgrimage for Earth and try to enact it today:
- Renewing Our Vows: As we have so often, we can start this practice back in the Genesis narrative. Reread Genesis 1:25-28 as a vow today, that as those created in God’s image we are tasked as God’s stewards, God’s representatives, to tend and care for creation.
- Transformative Spiritual Disciplines: Take a moment today, this week, or throughout the rest of Lent to practice a spiritual discipline. You don’t need to be an expert, just give one a try, and ask for God to show up. Some ideas include scripture study, simplicity, confession, worship, prayer, contemplation, service, fasting, solitude, silence, Sabbath, and more.
- Renewal and Transformation in Community: Investigate nonprofits and faith communities in your area which are engaged on ecological issues. These could be gardens, conservation organizations, and so much more. Plan to find a way to begin volunteering your time in your community through one of these organizations.