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Pilgrim living

Reflecting over a cuppa, looking out of the window


The return to normal life brings both joys and challenges. The value of any sacred journey is most clearly seen in the fruit that is produced in the lives of those involved. In the period after we return home we are invited to reflect on how have we been changed by the experience both for ourselves and for others. Often the answer is more than just that of an individual response. We return to Christian communities who have been raised up to present a message of hope to the world. But our churches, too, are on a pilgrim journey, trying to relate in new ways to a society which views what we have to offer with scepticism and suspicion.

Perhaps in the notion of pilgrimage there are grounds for optimism. Holding on to our own heritage and our faith in Christ, we can journey with others in renewed confidence. As living examples of reconciliation, can we not mend relationships and encourage the creation of new networks of solidarity and connection? In ways that demonstrate the love of God for everyone, we can be life-long pilgrims, constantly seeking renewal and transformation in the light of the resurrection of Jesus.

Optional starter questions:

  1. Looking back from the perspective of Easter, what has been the significance of the pilgrim journey we have undertaken?
  2. What things do I really need to remember and build into my own life, which will continue to sustain me?
  3. Which relationships, ideas and insights will continue to inspire me and what am I moved to do in response to all I have seen and heard?

“The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

John 14: 26


No-one expected your return.
You astonished your disciples
When you slipped from the tomb.
You came extending peace,
Offering forgiveness for denial,
Extending faith to the doubtful.
You met them on the seashore
And on the road toward home.
Each one’s grieving heart overjoyed.
Each one’s closed mind opened wide.

Joyce Rupp
‘Fragments Of Your Ancient Name’

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

Matthew 13:46

If the Christian Community of the future is to develop spiritual resources for that struggle, resources that will strengthen and guide those who work for justice and peace in their communities and in the world, it will need to shed much of its inherited and accumulated baggage, and learn to see itself as a community of pilgrims, a community on the move.

We need, as a pilgrim community, to accept that we do not have all the answers, that we will often be marching into the darkness, and we will be puzzled and confused as to the direction we should take. A pilgrim community will often travel in half-light in uncertainty and bewilderment. We need to be at home in this night of faith if we are to progress.

Kenneth Leech
‘The Eye of the Storm’

Each of us stands at the gate of tomorrow, facing the future.
At times we have walked in wonder and awe.
At other times, we have moved along in a flood of fear.
Looking back, we may recognise that,
amid the joys and struggles of the journey,
this is a sacred journey,
one that is hidden in and surrounded by mystery.

Although we long for someone
to translate the risks of the journey into logical explanations,
we often find ourselves in the foreign land of faith.
We stand on the edge of our hopes and dreams
and ask in trust to be led and supported
by a love and energy much larger than we can imagine.

We ask to walk here in courage and integrity,
as we attempt to discern the voice of God
amid the cacophony of our doubt and fear.
To risk the journey and face the future
is simply to walk in faith but always,
both in our knowing and unknowing,
we are escorted into tomorrow by Love,
who gives us everything we need.

Doris Klein CSA
‘Journey of the Soul’

The Servant Song

Brother, sister, let me serve you,
let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I may have the grace
to let you be my servant too.

We are pilgrims on a journey,
and companions on the road;
we are here to help each other
walk the mile and bear the load.

I will hold the Christ-light for you
in the night-time of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you,
speak the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping;
when you laugh I’ll laugh with you;
I will share your joy and sorrow
till we’ve seen this journey through.

When we sing to God in heaven
we shall find such harmony,
born of all we’ve known together
of Christ’s love and agony.

Brother, sister, let me serve you,
let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I may have the grace
to let you be my servant too.

Richard A M Gillard


Every effort has been made to trace copyright. However, we would be glad to hear from any holders of copyright not traced so that due acknowledgement can be made.
All images istock except where indicated.
John 14; Matthew 13:46 – Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright
© 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘No-one expected your return’ – Excerpted from Fragments of Your Ancient Name by Joyce Rupp. Copyright ©2011 Joyce Rupp. Used with the permission of the publisher, Sorin Books®, an imprint of Ave Maria Press®, Inc., Notre Dame, Indiana 46556.
‘If the Christian Community…’ – Kenneth Leech (The Eye of the Storm: Spiritual Resources for the
Pursuit of Justice, Darton, Longman and Todd, 1992)
‘Each of us stands…’ – Doris Klein CSA (Journey of the Soul, Rowman and Littlefield 2001, all rights reserved)
‘The Servant Song’ – © 1977 Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing (Adm Song Solutions All rights reserved. Used by permission.


Hilbre Island © Marianthi Lainas

Welcome to the 2016 CTBI Lent course

The CTBI Lent Course 2016 represents a departure in style and format from that offered in previous years. Each week, we are invited to gather in groups for reflection and spiritual conversation around a series of themes drawn from the overarching title of Pilgrimage’. The idea is that we embark on a spiritual journey through Lent, both alone and in company, sharing with others our personal reflections, stories and insights.

The notion of ‘Pilgrimage’ is presented in the form of collections of sayings, images, wisdom and prayers from a variety of sources, which are gathered into a pack of seven conversation booklets suitable for personal and group use. Each member of a group will need their own copy of the pack, which will be used as a personal journal.

Steps... up or down?


The Open Road

Where the invitation is to undertake a particular kind of journey, a sacred journey which involves both inner and outer dimensions. As we set out, what is our desire, or longing?


Dutch windmills


Taking and Leaving

Focus on choice. How do we choose what to keep, what we require for inner vitality and balance, and what to leave behind, things which may once have helped us but we now find burdensome and obstructive?






Becoming Present

Where the invitation is to become more attentive to our surroundings Where are the signs of God’s presence around us? How do we stay open to new insights?




Bread on sackcloth


Alone and Together

Focuses on our relationships with others. In our search for ‘unity in diversity’, how do we learn from ‘the other’?  What does it mean to be separate yet ‘one’?





Shepherd and flock walking down a tree lined path, Springtime


Living with Uncertainty

Where we think of times of alienation and separation that are common to us all. How do we live with unanswered questions?  From where do we find hope?




Approaching the top of a Medieval spiral stone staircase, light pouring in


Sacred Encounter

Where we are invited to contemplate the mystery of God at the heart of the Christian experience. Each step on the journey illuminates more questions, for example: what is the nature of suffering?




Reflecting over a cuppa, looking out of the window


Pilgrim Living

When we contemplate the significance of our pilgrim journey for the future. What people, networks, ideas, insights have we discovered that will continue to inspire us?




Whilst you may wish to print out the contents of these pages, we suggest you will find it more useful and less costly to purchase copies of the ‘Pilgrimage’ pack, which is recommended for conversation group settings and individual use.

Copies are £5.00 + p&p and are available from Church House Bookshop: either download an order form or


Pack Shot

BBC Radio 4 Sunday Worship coverage