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The Potential of Pilgrimage

September 8, 2012

Jesus invites you, me, and all people to pilgrimage – an adventure that is all about love. in which we grow in our Lord’s likeness and character and so experience true fellowship with God and one another. We are cleansed and renewed by the love of God inside, so that the love of God might pour forth outside.

In other words, this invitation is one we not only receive but also share.

How?

It all starts by realizing whose invitation it is. The invitation to pilgrimage is God’s invitation, not ours.

We have no right not to invite those whom God invites. As Psalm 36:7 says: “All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.”

We also have right to invite to anything other than what God invites – to light and life. As it says in Psalm 36:9: “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.”

We have no right to withhold part of the invitation – to say “You are not invited to this,” or “You can come, but you have to stay in the entrance, remain an observer, a tourist rather than a pilgrim.” All are invited to know freedom, liberation, new life through our Lord Jesus.

This past Wednesday’s Gospel passage related the healing of Simon’s mother-in-law, and we noted at the Service that she used the strength she received from Jesus’ touch to serve. I believe our sharing the invitation is as simple as that: using all we have received from our Lord’s touch to reach out and bless those around us. It can be as basic as using our ability to speak, to move, to be present to participate in our Parish’s Sidespeople ministry (which is looking for additional members this Fall) to honour people, and share with them God’s welcome and hospitality – sharing the welcome and hospitality you have received yourself from God.

This summer, I read the book I am Potential, whose cover is on the top of this posting. It was written in 2008 by a 20 year old named Patrick Henry Hughes who has used his gifts in just this way. Patrick has a rare condition through which he was born without eyes and with physical problems that left him as an adult 48 inches tall, unable to stand, and with limited movement in his back and arms. Despite these challenges, Patrick is an accomplished musician who sings and plays the piano and the trumpet – indeed, he played the latter in the University of Louisville’s marching band, pushed in his wheelchair by his father. He graduated from the University of Louisville with a degree in Spanish. And he has touched literally millions with his deep love of God and life. Patrick ends his book with these words: 

Today is full of opportunities to do something worthwhile. We all have gifts to share, whether we know it or not. Maybe your abilities are so unique, so different, that you haven’t even recognized them. I believe God gave me [the gift of seeing] the inner qualities within everyone I meet. I believe [God] gave me a passion for music to show me what is possible. And [God] gave me a loving family who helps me in so many ways, so that we might bless each other by giving freely to one another. When you share your unique gifts, you discover the path to your potential – the plan God had for you from the moment you were born.

So, live now, give now, love now, and laugh as much as you can. In the words of one of my heroes, Mother Teresa: “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

Jesus is inviting you, me, and all of us to this most exciting of all adventures: the pilgrimage of receiving and sharing the love of God, and of receiving and sharing the gifts that love bestows. Our potential is as unlimited as the grace of God. Let’s all embrace the opportunity and venture forth with our Lord together.

(This is adapted from the sermon at our September 2 Services. Embedded below are two videos about Patrick Henry Hughes. Patrick’s book, I am Potential, is available to borrow from the “Book Nook” outside my office.) 

One Comment
  1. Kathleen Mountford permalink

    Thank You.

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