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by Paul Merideth

PaulMerideth A pilgrimage is "a journey, especially a long one, made to some sacred place as an act of devotion." It has five basic components: (1) pilgrims or travelers, (2) a long journey, (3) a set destination, (4) a guide, and (5) personal transformation or spiritual enlightenment. An entire genre of literature has emerged in various forms from this seminal concept of pilgrimage. In fact, many major movies and books have tapped into this concept and produced exciting narratives that engage and entertain. However, as Christians we are intimately familiar with this concept. After all, we are on a journey to a glorious destination. We indeed have a guide along this journey; Jesus himself came and left an enduring legacy of revelation. Furthermore, our journey changes us and transforms us as we progress along the path on route to Heaven. We are pilgrims.

There are four central texts and events in the Bible that dynamically express the notion of pilgrimage. The first is the journey of the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12). The second is the summoning of Abraham (Hebrews 11:8-16; Genesis 12:1-3). Third is the exodus of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt (Exodus – Deuteronomy). The last is the temporal and the eternal (2 Corinthians 5:1-10).

The Christian is a stranger in a strange land. Our lives are lived as a journey moving toward a glorious destination but thankfully God has given us a guide; "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Psalm 119:105). As we trek this path may it be with faith, in eager expectation of our someday arrival to the land of promise. We trust in a God who leads and preserves his people for his good pleasure. So, take up your staff, strap on your shoes, take each step along this path with conviction knowing that one day we will arrive and our journey will be completed.


                               Paul N. Merideth is a Bible Professor at  Ohio Valley University in Vienna, WV

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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 corinthians 1:3-4