June 19th, 2022

As our year long Pilgrimage concluded with the celebration of Pentecost, I want to profoundly thank our staff, Grace Guides and volunteers. I am deeply grateful for our collaboration with Soul Play and our partners Dr. Terry Nelson-Johnson (TNJ) and his Soul Play team for animating so much of the adventure SO FAR.

It is sometimes difficult for me to articulate what the Pilgrimage and Adventure is, so I was moved during my long flight from Edinburgh, Scotland to Chicago and I wrote the following poem.  I hope it helps those of you who were engaged in the pilgrimage to treasure some of your experience and perhaps pique the curiosity of those of you who have yet to join us.

Grace, Gift, Adventure and Pilgrimage

Life’s story brings a certain order

some things long and some things shorter.

But what if through grace the sequence changed

And life’s unfolding becomes rearranged?

So let’s consider many things,

like short so often starts the long,

and light was there before the dark

that we don’t live in history, but history lives in us

and when it comes to gives and takes,

what a day a difference makes

Consider our gesture of blessing things,

like bread and wine and water

and deepen our appreciation

for water’s pervasive blessing of us.

And when we credit water more,

we also credit the source,

because everything we have

is a gift of God’s unfolding course.

And this first maker God of ours

so diligently stirs our souls and

inspired Holy Family to a great adventure of grace.

TNJ, Soul Play and our Holy Family way

have teamed to suggest a different flow

and to give what follows some prayerful thought:

•  Sacraments don’t simply supply the grace, but grace is the font of the sacred’s flow

•  Seven moments can’t contain, all of the grace of our Kingdom’s reign

•  So our precious Sacramental chain we now see with a different lens….

      Drenched is before Baptism

      Affirmed predates Confirmation

      Mercied precedes Anointing and Reconciliation

      Committed roots Marriage and Priesthood

•  And most importantly Fed feeds the hunger for more through the Eucharist of life

Sacraments are not for consumption,

but mediated through grace anew

Looking at them as only nouns

can foster a puny view.

We have been pilgrims along the font and path, the passport and the song,

Base Camp, Trail Mix and stops to rest.

Kiddie Pool to Celebration, very rich stories

and personal sharing between

the brownies, bubbles, rocks and brick

have all to sacred led.

We’ve placed our hands on holy bread,

to remind us what’s ahead.

We’ve laughed and pondered and gazed anew, and held each others’ cross.

We’ve cried the tears of profundity,

and danced the Pentecost.

We are not the source of realization,

but the result of foundational love

Realizing ever full of grace,

the reality of Christ with us.

Being happy God is in our life

provides a starting point,

But we dig deep by gratitude

for the one God three in life

instigator of all, given in Christ,

manifest in the Holiest Spirit

sacredly, authentically and uniquely

in the Eucharist

So the first love was God’s – not ours,

but may we never forget

the dwelling of a love divine

is that which remains in us

Please be grateful for a Pilgrimage

that gave us many gifts

and look to others promised

in adventure lying ahead.

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