Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Relinquishing shepherd hood

Ruth Everhart, teaching on Pilgrimage said: "So much of what we do is about shepherding other people's spiritual experiences." And she asked: "What is it you do to reclaim your spiritual authenticity?"(or something along those lines.)
I began to think, firstly, of some of the physical ways I would attempt to remove myself from being in pastor mode. I have a T shirt I love to wear which bears the question: "Ask me if I care?" That serves to remind me that, at this moment, in this setting I am not the pastor. I am not the one called to be the carer. It is a T shirt for time off.
If physically possible, I head to the beach and can usually find a spot with no other human company. Then it's just me and God. The wind and the waves and the beauty of the scenery conspire to renew my energy and to draw me to something other than my bone crushing weariness. My senses are tantalised. I breathe deeply, deeper than I have for some time and, even though this beach pilgrimage is a fairly regular occurrence, I'm always surprised to discover in it, the presence of God. When I move out of God's way, God materialises, sitting alongside me on the beach, walking next to me at the water's edge, blowing around me, messing my hair and placing the tang of salt on my lips. And in those moments I am reminded that God cares for me too. The God I work hard to reveal to others is revealed to me in those sacred moments. That shift in perspective is surely pilgrimage.

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