Tomorrow, youTheology begins its annual pilgrimage with its high school students. It is a Pan-Methodist Pilgrimage to the East Coast of the USA where we explore the roots of American Methodism. We’ll begin in Harlem, New York, where we’ll be hosted by Mother Zion, AMEZ. We’ll also visit Salem UMC and Williams Institutional CME. From Harlem, we will travel to Philadelphia and visit St George’s UMC and Mother Bethel AME. Next, we’ll stop in Baltimore and go to Old Otterbein UMC and Lovely Lane UMC. At all these sites, we will be learning about the witness of the saints, past and present; their struggles and how they have and continue to overcome to the glory of God.
Our pilgrimage reminds us that God is on the move and that we need to be always listening to discern how God would have us follow. It requires trust in God and the people to whom God sends us and with whom we share. We leave Kansas City and go from the known to the unknown. Even for us who have done this pilgrimage before, it is new, full of the unexpected. It requires flexibility as things change and new opportunities are presented to us by our hosts and circumstances. Along the pilgrimage, there are both intentional and unintentional moments of awe. There are places which we visit that we know are magnificent because the architects and builders strove to replicate, in their own way, the magnificence of God. There are many stories that are awe-inspiring. But always, there are moments of awe and wonder that only God can create.
Invariably, we create space for the sacred as we pause for prayer knowing that God is already present; we simply seek to acknowledge this in a way that allows God to move more fully in our lives. In addition, we build intentional moments of teaching, discussion, and reflection . Thus, as Brett Webb-Mitchell rightly notes in Christly Gestures: Learning to be Members of the Body of Christ,, “As pilgrims, we live a in motion as Christ’s body, constantly learning “while on the road” and confronting the way we live our lives in the light of how others live their lives” 2003, (168).
Loving God, Loving Neighbor