The Journey and the Destination are the Same (more or less).

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.


  1. Blessings for your pilgrimage, Mark. I'll be remembering you and your flock in my daily prayers. May ha-Shem give you many holy moments.

  2. I hope you have a rejuvenating experience amongst the Dineh. It is a spectacular part of the world, of course, and a strong people who survived so much by maintaining their connection to it.

    There's nothing quite as awe-filled as night-time in a desert, when you can see so many stars in inky blackness, with the howls of coyotes and anonymous rustling in the sage reminding you that you are not alone.

    Watch out for rattlesnakes and travel safely!

  3. May you all be blessed along the way for you are surely a gift to each other! I know that God will show up and guide you all along the way! Traveling mercies!

  4. I wanted to type "safe journeying" and, on the physical level, I certainly wish you all that, but pilgrimage cannot be safe inasmuch as we open ourselves to the Holy and to one another. So blessed journeying. May Beauty surround you and in Beauty may it be finished.

  5. slovenejean from Utah27/6/10 10:52 PM

    Oh, how I envy you and your youth! I spent nearly a year living in Gallup, NM, working with and among the Dineh. While I wasn't on the reservation, just to be associated with their culture was a treat. I hope you will visit St. David's in Page, AZ, which is actually in the Diocese of Utah. Our Canon Dave Bailey is the Bishop-Elect of Navajoland, to be consecrated August 7.

  6. Blessings on your pilgrimage, Mark.

    And, yes, it is difficult to monitor the Anglican brouhaha while living the life of a Christian in one's own place ... and to keep it all in perspective. Trying to do both means (for me) I never have a shortage of sins to confess each day. ;-)

  7. Mark,
    Enjoy the experience and I hope it will be a transforming one for all of you. I agree that all the contretemps of recent times in Anglican Land have nothing on the experience of mission.

    Jim Von Dreele

  8. Safe journey and may you find yourself in your wanderings of pilgrimage...

    Caminante, no hay camino.
    Se hace camino al andar.

  9. This wistful adieu is intriguing, and somewhat sad. You speak of vipers in the church, so alongside the wistfulness is also bitterness. Because the cause for SSBs is culturally approved, in the West, and to be constrained by scripture and tradition to think otherwise out of obvious fashion, those of us on the ‘other side’ must adjust to being out of step and considered wrong and even vipers. I wonder: do you ever consider that your position, including all the generosity you credit yourself with in ‘the land of love,’ and all that is noble and self-affirming in that – might there ever be any doubt in your mind? The confidence with which you hold your position borders on self-evidence. You know your views to be right, with a polar-star, adamantine certainty. Is it hard to accept that others cannot have this account of Christ’s Gospel, without a sense that they would be betraying Christ himself? You probably regard this as delusional and backward. But here is the faultline. It isn’t bigotry or viper conduct, but is borne of conscience in the Gospel. Condemn that as something else, but until you grasp the nature of the conviction, you will not understand the genuine difference here. May God bless your journey and our own in Him. TOH

  10. Godspeed on your pilgrimage, Mark, you and all who travel with you to Navajoland.

    My WV is "later". Later, then.

  11. Hillerman country! May you "walk in beauty" throughout your journey.

  12. Many blessings on the journey!

    John Edmonds

  13. Traveling mercies, my friend.


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.