J2A Greece Pilgrimage 2008

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The road home

Written entry by Rob Burlington follows images

Time for peace and reflection inside St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh

Outside St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh

View from Edinburgh Castle

Keeping guard

A walk down the Royal Mile

“How do we keep sacred memories alive? How do we make the journey part of our lives once we are back in the daily grind? This is so important because you've changed. We must remember this: The journey is a miniature of the bigger one which is life.” -Joan Marler

“I can see now that a true pilgrimage is a way to bring you closer to God.” -Phil Cousineau

I will miss this group after we're back in Atlanta. I am grateful to Laurie, Tim, Beth, Kathy, and Michele for leading us so gracefully with their guidance, flexibility, patience, wisdom, and humor. Jack, Cadell, Tracy, Ellen, Carly, Virginia, and Taylor are a special group: unique, smart, funny, kind and fun to be around. They have taken a leap of faith making this journey and have challenged themselves with thoughtful questions, often searching for the answers together.

We began the journey asking ourselves about our spiritual lives, and we “used” Celtic spirituality and the Iona Community to help us explore that. What evolved from that question was a more profound exploration of self-knowledge: Who am I? What have I learned about myself on this pilgrimage? What will I leave behind? What can I celebrate about myself and share with others? We discovered that as we learn about ourselves and become more whole, more fully human, it might draw us closer to God.

These pilgrims love food, restaurants, cooking, and enjoying a great meal together, and we have just returned from our last dinner together, a celebratory closing ritual. Virginia Parker, while tasting a dessert, as a shout-out to Celtic spirituality said “that right there, that's my 'thin place'.” May we continue to seek and find the “thin places” every day, recognizing the presence of God in each other and in ourselves.

Bless to us, O God, the earth beneath our feet,
Bless to us, O God, the path whereon we go,
Bless to us, O God, the people whom we meet.

-based on an old prayer from the Outer Hebrides

Rob Burlington


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