This weekend we give thanks for our patron, St James the Apostle, brother of John, and with him and with Peter, one of the trio of Apostles seemingly in the Gospels closest to Jesus. His relics are reputed to lie in Compostela in NW Spain, where they became the goal of one of the most significant pilgrimages in medieval Europe. The Camino, the Way, as it is called, has in recent years experienced a major revival: many thousands each year still walk one of the several traditional routes, often some hundreds of kilometres, to Compostela, to pray at the shrine of St James, Santiago.
A group from our St James’ visited there some 25 years or so ago; more recently Jason Brown, and Mother Lucy. Many have written of their experience of this walk with a purpose, of its joys and travails, of companionship on the way with those of different faith and none, meeting strangers, stepping out alone with time to reflect and think deeply. For some it turns out to be life changing, disclosing a new path forward, a different perspective on self and on faith, a closer relationship with Jesus.
The first Christians referred to the faith as The Way, being together on the journey of life with Jesus, himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life. So intentional pilgrimage, a journey with a focus, is a model, a pattern, to help us renew our daily Christian living, re-energise our awareness of Jesus alongside us. At the end of September there will be another Pilgrimage Walk in the parish, as last year, for the season of creation. Then, next summer (!), the idea is to go away from the parish, perhaps to UBC/Pacific Spirit Park, for a Reflective Prayer Walk, rejoicing in being together on the Way.
St James, Patron of Pilgrims, pray for us!
Jesus, Way, Truth, and Life: be our companion on the Way!