Along the path we are walking, we haven’t gone very far. Perhaps just a few steps as Jesus walks over a final time to where the disciples are sleeping. Though the location may be the same as where we left off last week, it also seems miles away.
Over the six weeks of Lent, I invite you to journey along the road Jesus took to the cross. We’ll be stopping at six of the stations on which Christians have reflected over the centuries to remember what happened along the path from Gethsemane to Calvary.
As we near the end of this series of devotions on pilgrimage, let’s return to where we began, on that highway to Jerusalem in Psalm 84. On that highway travelers have their hearts set on arriving in Jerusalem and worshipping in God’s holy temple. With their focus set on this story, the path they walk becomes one of refreshing springs even in the desert. When we encounter Paul in Athens, he is also following a story, a story that begins on a road to Damascus.
As we muddle our way through liminal spaces on the path to a sacred center, especially with others who also see themselves on pilgrimage, not only do we change, but so do our relationships. A unique community arises that focuses on reaching that goal more than remaining within the usual boundaries and edges of social interactions. The lure of such a community often draws people to the academy.
On a journey to a sacred center, pilgrims often leave behind known and familiar lives to step into an unfamiliar time and place. Even if they have a good image of their destination, they cannot predict what will occur along the way. In this respect, pilgrimage is essentially a time of liminality.