The pilgrimage: Scripture and questions for Dec. 18

Luke 2:1–7
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered.

Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The title of this Sunday’s meditation is “The Pilgrimage.” The children will be enacting the Las Posadas, a poignant story of the journey Mary and Joseph make to Bethlehem in order to register for tax purposes. When they arrive, Mary and Joseph do not easily find shelter. At times we, like this young couple, face journeys we would not choose. These intrusions, whether a family transition or change in health or sudden loss, take us through an inner journey or spiritual pilgrimage. When we think we have come to the end of the journey and can rest at last, we may not find the “inn” we had expected. We don’t journey through transitions without changing. This season can give birth to new ways of being in the world.

Questions you might consider:

  1. You have heard this text many times but what does the journey symbolize for you?
  2. What are some journeys that you have had to make but wouldn’t choose? How have they changed you?
  3. How does the inner journey inform your outer experience?

Paula Northwood
Minister for Education

About PlymouthSpirit

Plymouth Congregational Church is a progressive faith community grounded in the Christian tradition. We are spiritual, loving, relevant and transforming.
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One Response to The pilgrimage: Scripture and questions for Dec. 18

  1. Larry Erickson says:

    Exile and journeys are merged in my head. A young man goes off to college and learns “business is the game we play and money is the way we keep score.” The man becomes very good at playing that game. In fact, it seems everything he thinks is important, his family, his friends, his security, his future, his faith, is somehow attached to the game of business. Then one day he finds he is on the road to Damascus. It is not a road he planned on taking. Like many things in life it just seemed to happen. There is an encounter with a doctor and words are said that make him understand he needs to look closely at his life. Over time, the callouses fall from his eyes and for the first time he can really see. Business IS a game and money Is the way we keep score. But life IS NOT a business. Life is life! And now he finds himself in exile. He is not the same husband, father or brother his family knew. He can’t really share his revelation too enthusiastically with his old friends for fear of they will reject him as some sort of religious nut. So he takes smaller steps and walks more gently on this part of his journey; he adds a new friend or two; he spends a little more time doing this than doing that. But is he alone? Absolutely not! For maybe the first time in his life he has Someone always walking with him.

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