Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church


Our Stories

Palmerage: Pilgrimage to Greece | Bonus Content!

Posted by The Reverend Ryan Hawthorne on

Palmerage Bonus Content!

Pilgrimage is a weird concept because the pilgrim retreats from their own world often in the hopes of entering a world past. Pilgrims immerse ourselves in the stories and site of ancient, medieval, and modern times. We desire a taste, touch, encounter with the holy, to be pulled from our own time into a time when gods clashed, miracles abounded, dragons breathed fire, and sacrifices of lamb, ox, and human flesh appeased deities and soothed their anger. We travel great distances physically in order to come closer to past times, leaving our own world behind.

And yet. Even on pilgrimage the world continues to turn, wars continue to wage, historic buildings burn down, nations attack others, children call asking for more screen time, and our emails still follow up with requests for meetings. Time never stops and the pilgrim is never far from their own world even if they’ve traveled halfway across the globe. 

Perhaps this is the way it should be. Maybe encountering the holy means holding the past and present in each hand, honoring both, knowing we cannot hide or escape to the past in order to keep present horrors or demands at bay. 

Jesus turns his face to Jerusalem in pilgrimage for the Passover and in preparation for his death. During Holy Week we are pilgrims with Jesus, immersing ourselves in his footsteps from triumphal entry, to sitting at table with his friends, to the cross. And finally, we meet Christ with Mary Magdalene in the garden, facing an empty tomb. 

Pilgrimage transfigures our hearts. We become crossroads of the past and present, recognizing the Holy is in this world, unique to no particular time. simply waiting for each of us to look for her.