Our second walking pilgrimage of the summer has now come to an end. Nine pilgrims began walking in Melrose, Scotland. We walked part of the Borders Abbeys Way stopping to reflect at Melrose Abbey, Dryburgh Abbey, Kelso Abbey, and Jedburgh Abbey. From Jedburgh we continued our walk along St. Cuthbert’s Way out to Holy Island in England. The journey was long and somewhat difficult for some of us, and God was with us. The terrain was pretty hilly and very remote. We saw many more sheep and cows than people, many times sharing their pastures.
We ate, prayed, walked, ate, prayed, walked, ate, prayed, and slept for 9 days. Through it all we shared stories and faith journeys with one another and grew more deeply into relationship with God and with each other.
There were many special places and events on our journey, but two highlights of the trip that stood out for me were the walking to Holy Island along the pilgrim’s path (a bunch of poles stuck in the tidelands which have guided pilgrims to Holy Island for centuries) and a Eucharist service at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin on Holy Island to honor St. Aidan.
We have each returned to Epiphany changed. It was a communal, yet personal journey. For some of us we brought something along with us as we began the pilgrimage, perhaps a decision to be made, a question to be answered, a yearning for simplicity, or something else. For some of us, we came with no specific intent, just a yearning to learn more about our Anglican heritage and to be in this beautiful country. For some of the pilgrims there have been epiphanies and clarity gained, For others the journey continues. And yet, there is peace, and joy, and yes, even some pain. And all is as it should be.
If you are interested in exploring what it means to go on a walking pilgrimage please reach out to me or any one of the other 19 pilgrims who took part in one of the walking pilgrimages this summer.