Church, a place and time of whole-hearted, meaning-crammed communion, is something each of us encounters in different venues that captivate us – the camaraderie found in others’ company, the transcendence found in the out-of-doors, the intersection of our Life with lyrics and melody in song. That place to encounter (perhaps share or confess) truth safely, in safety, that place to come to terms with tough times and the good, Church is both a social and familial entity, a place in which you can grow and mature. Not movement forward, independent of others, not alone in thought, not only within our own priority, Church is that sacred entity of relationship carried forward by two or more people in Life’s pilgrimage connecting each to something bigger than self (selves), that thing that drives ethics in action and purpose in Life, that thing realized when we realize we are here for more than ourselves, having something to contribute to the Lives of others.
Church as pilgrimage has been on my mind as I’ve watched a film by Emilio Estevez – ‘The Way.’ Martin Sheen, as father makes pilgrimage from France to the Church of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain, a trek following ‘The Way of St. James.’ Tom (Sheen) takes up this eight-hundred kilometre trek, a trek his son had begun and makes it on behalf of his son who, recently deceased, is ever-present throughout the trek task. The pilgrimage becomes Church as three ‘peregrinnos,’ pilgrims, cluster with and around Tom; each carrying forward a Life task that’s brought them to a cross-road in their Lives. It’s not so much that disclosure of Life’s challenge needs to occur among the peregrinnos, but that each comes to understand that their shared company and good understanding of what’s at play in each other’s lives makes the road easier – something that Church is about, an entity of relationship carried forward that associates to Life’s pilgrimage, direction and purposes.
Images – The Roman Catholic Church of St. Louis in Buttertown (across the Peace River from Fort Vermilion, Alberta) and the Woking Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Woking, Alberta).
Listening to – much of the soundtrack to ‘The Way,’ containing two songs that intrigue, David Gray’s ‘My Oh My’ (from Rhythm and Soul broadcasts) and Alanis Morissettes’ ‘Thank U’. James Taylor’s ‘Country Road’ also features in the film.
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