Minister’s Musings Among the Mountains – Week of January 8

“Pilgrimage as Spiritual Practice”

This coming Sunday I will talk about a quote from one of my colleagues who wrote a sermon some years ago on pilgrims. Rev. Wayne Arnason is well known in the UUA for his particular gifts of ministry and insights. This is the quote I will use:

“Tourists come to see, come to learn, come to be entertained. Pilgrims have a different motivation Pilgrims come to experience, come to understand, and come to be transformed.”

Pilgrimage is an ancient powerful tradition in the human story. We might make a pilgrimage to Boston to see Unitarian Universalist churches or visit the UUA offices. Another pilgrimage might be our own life journey. The Transylvania Partnership Church group is planning a pilgrimage to visit our Unitarian roots in Europe.

What I like about Wayne’s quote is that our congregations appeal to people who are simply curious for something different in church – hence they come to see, learn and be entertained by a different model of worship. We also hopefully appeal to people who have had profound changes or challenges in their lives and seek some way to make sense of the changes. These folks are, I think, pilgrims. They want to experience, understand and especially be transformed by their experience.

How does Westside help both types of visitors: tourists and pilgrims? I think the stellar Membership team led by Laura White has been instrumental in helping people discern why Westside is an important to them. Please drop by the Membership table at social hour and ask questions.

We are all on a pilgrimage and especially now in America. We need to find exemplars whose work was to guide us on our journeys to wholeness.

We have plenty of pilgrimage leaders who have shown us ways to find our way to wholeness and wisdom. One of them was Martin Luther King, Jr. This coming weekend honors his life and story. Pilgrimage was a part of his life. Drop by on Sunday as we talk about Dr. King’s last speech and the pilgrimage he led until his untimely violent death.

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