In our wedding we asked our friends and family, witnesses to our marriage covenant, to sing The Servant Song, by Richard Gillard with us. Nick requested this song during the ceremony planning, and I fell in love with the words immediately. (Full disclosure: I did change one word below from his original: “family” was “brothers.”)
Will you let me be your servant
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I might have the grace
To let you be my servant too
We are pilgrims on the journey
We are family 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 to all we’ve known together
Of Christ’s love and agony
We are pilgrims on a journey… Pilgrims…
This is an ancient term and practice and has been a rich way that generations of followers of Jesus have understood and spoken about the path of discipleship.
I’ve had these particular lines stuck in my head the past few weeks because on Friday I am flying to Italy to join a group of pilgrims on their way to Rome. I won’t make it all the way to St. Peter’s Basilica like they will, but I will get to walk with them for a week on the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrim trail. Each day we will cover between 10 and 20 miles as we move slowly from town to town.
I’m going because I will be writing a series of articles for a client I freelance for (I will of course share links to those when they are ready), but I am also going because I want to walk. I want to move slowly through a region of the world where I’ve never been. I want to eat good food, and share stories and listen to others on their way. I want to learn more of what it means to pray without ceasing, and practice sabbath.
What I’ve found over the years as I’ve travelled, is that by getting out of my comfortable, well-worn routine, I come to know myself, God, and others better.
We don’t have to go far away to think of life with God as a pilgrimage, though. It’s a posture we can embrace anywhere. That’s one thing I’m really looking forward to exploring more deeply and writing about in the days, weeks, months, and probably years after I return.
I am excited to share here when I get back, but I’ve decided not to do real-time posts because I want to be as present as possible on the road. I do plan to use Instagram occasionally, though. You can follow here: @lamplight_stories or scroll toward the bottom of this page to see the latest. There will be a post for you to read next Tuesday—but it won’t be about this particular experience just yet.
In the meantime, I’d love to know…are pilgrim or pilgrimage words you have considered before in relation to the life of faith? If not, what comes to mind as you mull over my brief introduction of this rich practice and posture?