Week 1 - The Lenten Pilgrimage
The Lenten pilgrimage — reconnecting with our souls
By Mike Carscaddon
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. — Romans 6:4, NIV
I suspect that this may be one of the most powerful Lenten seasons of my life. You see, for the first two weeks of Lent, I will be making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. My fellow pilgrims and I will make our way to many of the traditional biblical sites. We will have the opportunity to reaffirm our baptismal vows in the Jordan River at Bethany Beyond Jordan, the location believed to be where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.
We will end our journey by walking the Via Dolorosa (Latin for “Way of Sorrow”), the processional route in the Old City of Jerusalem and the path that Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion. The winding route ends at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which according to tradition, contains the two holiest sites in Christianity: the site where Jesus was crucified, a place know as Calvary or Golgotha; and Jesus’ empty tomb, where he was buried and resurrected.
A pilgrimage is an opportunity to reconnect with your soul. To help prepare myself, I have been reading Phil Cousineau’s The Art of Pilgrimage. It provides a model for people seeking another way to travel, a simple model to help them find more purpose and more meaning, even more connection to the countless generations of those who have traveled before us. I’ve learned about the longing we all have for direct contact with the sacred and how best to fully experience each of the stages of the journey ahead. The challenge is to learn how to carry over the quality of the journey into everyday life.
That sort of deep purpose found in pilgrimage may also be found in our work at Habitat for Humanity. I’m excited to walk in the places where Jesus walked, and I’m excited that Habitat’s mission provides us a wonderful opportunity to live out Jesus’ call to love and serve our neighbors. May we continue our faith pilgrimage each day and seek to draw nearer to Jesus.
Gracious God, how blessed is this holy season of Lent, when through the Passion of Jesus, Earth and heaven are joined, and we are reconciled to God. During the coming days, help us to reconnect our souls to the amazing power of Your love. Amen.
Have you ever been on a pilgrimage, whether to a religious holy site or to a secular place, such as a hall of fame or the home of a famous writer?
How did you prepare for this journey to find the meaning you were looking for?
What did you bring home from your journey? What do you hope for at the end of this Lenten journey?
What makes your work at Habitat for Humanity meaningful?
Mike Carscaddon is Habitat for Humanity International’s Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer.
Rather than emphasizing what you will “give up” for Lent, focus on positive actions you can take to demonstrate the extraordinary love of Jesus.