Archive for May, 2010


So I just got back from the Salt & Light North American Leaders’ Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana. By bus. That’s right, 20 glorious hours of sitting, slouching, leaning, chatting, curling up, stretching out, reading, dozing, and aching. Considering that it took another 20 hours on the bus to get there, I think the time it took to travel to and from Fort Wayne eclipsed the time spent in the actual conference.

You might be thinking, “Wow, that was a lot of wasted time.” Honestly, at about mile 700 on the way there, that thought was crossing my mind. But God set me right with one word: “pilgrimage”.

A pilgrimage is a faith journey – a costly, long trip taken to go to a specific place and meet with one’s God. In bygone eras, it was a familiar word, as many people traveled great distances to visit holy sites. For the Jews, Jerusalem was God’s city, and it was a normal part of life to visit the temple in Jerusalem several times a year for high holidays and festivals. Often the travelling took longer than the time spent there, but that didn’t matter, because the journey itself was an important part of the pilgrimage. As the pilgrims traveled, they sang songs about the Lord (check out the songs of ascents in the Psalms), they prayed, they fellowshipped with one another and they reflected. And the journey back from the place of pilgrimage afforded a good chunk of time for thinking and talking about where they had been and what the Lord had said and done during their visit with Him. So, no wasted time. All of it – even the hours of camel or foot travel – was an important part of the pilgrimage.

We don’t quite get the idea of pilgrimage these days. In our modern McWorld, there is no joy in the journey. We want it all, and we want it now. And if it takes time, we grumble and complain, expecting some scientist or engineer to figure out how to spare us the wait, and fast. The sad part is, faster is never fast enough. Just observe someone tapping their foot impatiently as they wait for the microwave to finish! Ironically, the instant life robs us of most of its richness – the blessings of anticipation and reflection – as we scream from one life event to another. God has a lot to say to us before and after something happens, not just during.

I am grateful that the Lord helped me understand that this trip to Fort Wayne was a pilgrimage, not just a conference sandwiched between two tortuous bus rides. On the way there, our group prayed about the conference, shared what we were hoping to receive there, and prayed for each other. When we got there, the conference was a richer experience for the thinking and heart preparation the journey afforded. And on the way back we shared testimonies of what the Lord did at the conference, we prayed and prophesied for each other, we discussed good things, and we reflected silently. We laughed uproariously too. The trouble was that that happened at the border. It’s not a good idea to be suspiciously happy at the border.

Are you tapping your foot while you are waiting for your next “God moment?” Remember, it’s a pilgrimage. Take time for anticipation and reflection, because there’s joy in the journey.

May the Lord bless you,


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