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Lent Series

Listening Along the Pilgrims’ Way

The Fifth Sunday in Lent

March 21, 2021

Listening Along the Pilgrims’ Way

by Donald Fishburne

I will be their God, and they shall be my people.—Jeremiah 31:33b

At a time of expectation before the Passover, some Greeks wished to see Jesus, so Philip and Andrew took these pilgrim seekers to him. As Jesus prayed, a voice from heaven shared God’s glory. Then the crowd heard Jesus say, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” Jesus draws all people to himself—for our healing and salvation. But not without struggle. This would cost Jesus his life.

In the year since Ash Wednesday 2020 we’ve been on a journey. I would say a spiritual pilgrimage, deeper into the heart of God. We did not ask for the suffering and discord that began last year around the globe. But God has been with us all along the way. Perhaps this has been for you, as for me, a lean time of loss and grief, an extended wilderness time. For the longest time we have not been able to gather together around our Lord’s table. But we heard our Lord’s voice, and we listened. It’s never too late to listen.

The Good News for me as we listen in this transformative pilgrim jour-ney is that my prayer life and spiritual life have been broadened and deepened. My wife Sarah says my countenance and spiritual demeanor have changed. I’m more appreciative of the profound faith passed on to me by family, friends, mentors, and by members of the generations before. My ancestors, including literal Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower 400 years ago, were not perfect, nor am I, and now I have to reckon with that. At their worst, some were oppressors of one sort or another. At their best, they were pilgrims walking and sharing the way of faith.

In our day, we choose to take this journey with Jesus, who is guiding us toward Holy Week on a particular storm-tossed pilgrimage. All of us walk alongside Jesus, to mourn, to hope, and, through our faithfulness and our willingness to listen deeply to what this journey is telling us, to be lifted into his resurrected life.

This is the perfect season to invite others to journey with us through Lent toward Easter, as Jesus draws us to the cross and into eternal life and love. All we need to do is begin, right where we are.

Jesus hears and knows our needs and our struggles. Our joys and sorrows. Our fears, our yearnings, our hopes. Jesus desires to create in us clean hearts, loving us into the reign of God, overflowing with peace and joy.

Thank you, Jesus. 

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