Pilgrim – Be, Receive, Give Thanks
Growing up in Northern Wisconsin, Labor Day weekend marked a time of transition. Summer cabins were swept and sealed until the next season, canvas was draped across boats for winter storage, and as a family, we often took that one last long walk before driving home. Once more before ‘piling in the car,’ we soaked our feet in the water, listened for gentle sounding birds, even the wind rustling through the tall grass. We took one last deep breath as if attempting to bottle up all the sights, sounds, and smells until next time.
Time was marked. Actions were intentional. And from such, at a very early age, my brother, sister and I were taught three simple tenets for life – be, receive, give thanks. These four words became stepping stones, a foundational mantra, a pattern for my daily life. They assist in my faith walk. They remind me to be intentional about Sunday worship, Sabbath time, and rest. They inform me to pause, to receive and slow down, to acknowledge God as creator of all, and to offer thanks even for the very breath I get to breathe.
Phil Cousineau, in his book The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker’s Guide to Making Travel Sacred, writes, “With a deepening focus, keen preparation, attention to the path below our feet, and respect of the destination at hand, it is possible to transform even the most ordinary trip into a sacred journey, a pilgrimage. Contemplative walks transform the ground beneath us into holy ground whether we are on the Appian Way outside Rome, the town next door, or the parking lot outside our office building. The preparation for pilgrimage requires that we begin at home to watch, and listen more attentively, despite being bombarded by everyday life.” (p.105 Conari Press)
As you journey back this September, as you walk back into the rush of routines associated with the school year, back to the patterns of work life, back to the next thing that has to get done, back to days of earlier sunsets and longer nights, back to… (you fill in the blank) consider the mantra: be, receive, and give thanks.
Come and be, receive and give thanks each week at 8:30 and 11:00 am worship. Come and be engaged in faith talk with family and make new connections during the 9:45 am education hour. Come and give thanks in prayer and through servant action throughout the month.
Be. Receive. Give Thanks!