On Wednesday of this week Cheryl and I moved house. Our new address is 8 Dorcas Way, Coolbellup.
We moved house so that new ministers could move into the rectory. We did this because our experience with the Duffs has taught us that things grow where the energy for learning and evangelism is present. We are in Cottesloe, so we need to put our people where we want the new energy to be.
The Carrs have been delayed due to a licensing issue with the diocese here in Perth. We need to wait for the new archbishop to sort that out. But Cheryl and I felt that we would just be lingering if we stayed longer in the rectory. So she set the date of 17th January and now we have taken the pilgrimage to Coolbellup.
It all feels very strange and decidedly uncomfortable to be on the move. Exhausting. Yet pilgrimage is fundamental to a life under God’s rule. Just think how many of us have come from somewhere else to find a life, or, as in our case, to serve God. Pilgrims are usually very reticent people. Imagine the first Israelites, out of Egypt and on the road. They moaned and moaned. They didn’t like pilgrimage but it forced them to confront themselves and God.
We have turned pilgrimages into fancy self-inflicted holidays these days. But pilgrims are either on the road because they are forced to or are called by God to the change they are imposing on themselves.
Psalm 84:5,6 says, “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka [dryness], they make it a place of springs . . .” Called people will make a difference despite their reluctance. Pilgrim people tend to be listening, dependent . . . and tired. There is no room for complacency because you don’t know what is coming next.
We have a number of true pilgrims in our community. But, of course, a life lived for God will always be open to his voice.
The Duffs are pilgrims; Barb has come from far away to serve amongst us. The Carrs are willing to make great change to be good news. As I said, this makes people dependent on God. The challenge of stability is always complacency. Could this be why God had his people wander, not own property and share land with others?
Every Christian is a pilgrim. You are each taking your own unique journey towards greater trust and dependence on God. It will always involve change. Whether through family, job, finance, living situation or health, we are pilgrims on a journey. As the old song says, we are brothers and sisters on a road. We are here to help each other, walk the mile and bear the load.