Tomorrow, God willing, we will be Spain and the journey will be beginning. I have to admit that I am still making my practical preparations, like packing and deciding what in fact I do need to pack. I know that those who are walking are having to be very disciplined about what they are taking. For those of us who are in the coach we can be a little less disciplined about how much we take – just the baggage limit to take account of.
In fact, truth be told, I find it impossible to travel light. I read the gospels – ‘no bread, no bag, no money .. but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.’ (Mark 6.8-9) and I do wonder why it is that I have to have so much stuff. Is it that my sense of security is somehow expressed in the baggage that I drag along behind me – literally!
I keep looking at the weather forecasts of course. What I see isn’t thrilling. The weather looks like it has been here and in fact we were told that the weather in that part of Spain is nothing like you find on the Costas. Well there is nothing we can do about that. But it does mean that we need to be prepared to face anything. And I suppose that in itself is a powerful lesson. On life’s journey I have to be prepared for different seasons and different conditions. So travel light and be prepared may be the message for me this evening.
One important form of preparation we did on Sunday, Pentecost Sunday. The Bishop of Croydon blessed all the pilgrims who were present in the Cathedral and sent us on our way. The prayer he prayed over us said it all:
God of our journey
who led your pilgrim people by day and by night
and saw them to their journey’s end:
send your blessing on these your servants
as they travel the pilgrim road
in honour of your Son
and of his companion St James.
Make them sure footed,
joyful in heart
courageous and humble
and a blessing in themselves
to those they will meet on the way;
through Jesus Christ
who always went ahead of his disciples
and leads us now.
That is my prayer for us all this evening.