For the next two weeks PRELUDIUM is taking off in a new direction. Barring great mutterings that make it all the way to the mesas in New Mexico and Arizona and the people of the land, there will not be much written here. Instead I may post, if I can find Internet connections, some pictures and comments on a wonderful Pilgrimage the St. Peter's Youth Group (SPY) is about to undertake. Fourteen young people (14-18) and eight adults are off on a nine day journey where each moment (with God's grace) will be both journey and destination.
We are on our way to Navajoland, a destination every bit as holy as pilgrimage to Canterbury, and in this day and age perhaps even more efficacious for the soul. Perhaps, as in Canterbury Tales, we will tell stories and laugh at the foibles of our kind, and perhaps be more open to seeing Christ present in the face of those we meet. And perhaps we will begin to understand why the first peoples are people who can inform and form us in our faith. At least we will go remembering that this is a place of martyrs.
Martyrdom looks different when the martyred are most of a people and the remnant of that people has grown strong and remembers all too much that the dead was done by Christian hands like ours. Thomas a Becket was apparently done in by Christians set on doing their king's bidding, but however it all is ground down, the fact is Christians murder Christians with alarming frequency. There is a sense in which we are all part of a brood of vipers, given to poisoning friends and strangers alike.
The Navajo were nearly extinguished by the State and Church working in cahoots with imported disease and settlers greed. But our pilgrimage is not to the dead but to the living, a visit to the people who live on.
So we are on pilgrimage. We are just a bunch of kids and supportive adults, but I wonder, perhaps the journey is indeed the same as the destination - where we each day meet the martyrs and the fools, the vipers and the healers, and each day is destination for itself, because, actually, everywhere is Jerusalem the City of God, and everywhere is at once the door to heaven, and the opening of the pit to hell.
I am delighted to be going on this journey. I've about had it with the path on which attention has to be given again and again to the vipers in the Church, the venom that comes from the land of love lost and never regained. I'm frankly tired of trying to keep up with the day to day grind of news in Anglican-Land. For many years I have gotten along just fine without thinking two moments on the proper use of a miter, the niceties of this or that of the 39 Articles, the nuances of "graciousness" in "gracious restraint." I have gotten along just fine assuming that the love shown in the lives of others was something to echo in my own life, and that such love was worthy without the passports of this or that blessing or approval or within this or that religious community being required.
So now for a brief few days we will turn our face to the high mesas of Navajoland and to the promise of some days of travel, old and young together.
On return, perhaps some of all that is going on will make better sense, or perhaps I will care less about the vagaries of Anglican grump and frump.
I already feel released.
Pray for the young people of St. Peter's, and the old with them, and for me, youth minister for a while at St. Peter's, in the village by the edge of the big waters.