Ready Pilgrim? is the overall title we have chosen for our theme this month which is centred around pilgrimage. During a visit to Argyle Presbytery in November 2017 I heard about a project which was seeking to re-establish a pilgrimage between Tarbert and Oban. Kenny Wilson, a youth leader for the Church of Scotland in Argyll shared how he was taking a small group of young people from Tarbert, Loch Fyne to Glencruiten (Oban) in June.
I thought some of our community members would be interested in this new initiative. Next Sunday I’ll be visiting the group of pilgrims and sharing in their celebrations when they arrive at Port Ban. I’m hoping that a short film about the experience will appear on the site at some point within the next few weeks.
I will now hand over to Kenny Wilson, the organiser as he reflects on getting ready to start his pilgrimage. - Albert Bogle
Perspective is an interesting thing to me at present mainly because I am discovering all kinds of new things as I read my Bible because my own personal perspective is focused on something new. Let me explain. In just a few days I am embarking on a ‘Pilgrimage’ where myself and a few younger Christians are walking from Tarbert to Oban in Argyll in an attempt to link up two better known walkways: from the Mull of Kintyre up to Tarbert and from Oban to Iona. If we are successful in creating a walkable track from Tarbert to Oban it may open up the possibility of a long distance pilgrim walk from where St Columba first came to ‘Scotland’ on the Mull of Kintyre to the place where he settled and made his base: the beautiful island of Iona. So it is that I am discovering a new perspective in passages of the Bible.
Just this morning for example I was reading Luke Chapter 2 and suddenly realised that travelling or even pilgrimage was a major part of my reading. You could say that the ‘wise men’ made a pilgrimage to Bethlehem, that the shepherds made a pilgrimage to the stable or even that Mary, Joseph and the babe Jesus made a pilgrimage to Egypt! Travelling was a very important part of the Christmas story. Theologically of course, God becoming man and arriving as a babe on our planet was also an incarnational ‘pilgrimage’. And so as a future pilgrim I acknowledge that much of scripture involved a kind of travelling which, being God directed, was a pilgrimage. And what makes a pilgrimage? That when we travel we do so with a sense of the numinous; a sense that, as we travel, God travels with us and that we seek him out as we travel.
Lord God, patron of travellers, of those who seek you, we want to say that we are delighted to move through this day as pilgrims, seeking your direction for all that we do and seeking to walk in your footsteps by the manner of our conduct.
Are you between 16 and 24 years old?
Are you keen to share your Christian faith with others?
Are you fit and healthy?
Can you swim?
If all of the above apply to you, then this new Summer Adventure to mark The Year of Young People may be right up your street.
In the last week of June this year a team of 12 young Christians will help to re-establish the ‘missing’ leg of The Columba Way, one of Scotland’s new long distance walkways and they will do it in style. They will follow in the footsteps of St Columba who was the first person to bring the good news of Jesus to the land we now know as Scotland. In doing so he experienced quite a few challenges and during this week-long trek this cohort of 12 young Christians will face challenges that emulate some of the things that Columba faced. They will be crossing lochs and sea, climbing hills, helping the communities that they will be passing through and walking for long stretches of time each day. On their trek they will also be sharing their faith with some of the people whom they encounter along the way. Using the tools and context of today’s world the team will also be blogging, giving interviews and collecting data as they go and facing other challenges too.
For those chosen to participate, the cost will be minimal so… if this kind of challenge floats your boat, for more details contact Kenny Wilson on firstname.lastname@example.org asap.