Our church this morning, in an act of graciousness and generosity, presented Lauralea and myself with two tickets to Scotland to start our Sabbatical. It includes a week on the island of Iona at a B&B, and another week before the plane returns, to be filled with visits to some of you. (Any of you want a couple of Canadians hanging around for a couple of days? Talk back)
I really can't remember how long I've carried about in my spirit a desire to do a pilgrimage, and if possible to have as a part of that journey a physical trip to a place like Iona. A place that has become known as a Thin Place.
Uh, yeah, â€œThin places.â€
Places where people feel most strongly connected with Godâ€™s presence. It is in these places where the seen and unseen worlds are most closely connected.
For me then, it is a place where it is possible to touch and be touched by God,
I've experienced those kinds of thin places in my life. Places or times when Christ's presence has been particularly close.
Of course those places and times exist elsewhere, and are not just limited to a couple of places on the earth. But there are places that people have been going for hundreds of years to hear or connect with, or simply to be with God.
I, have wanted to go to the island of Iona for a long long time.
Even though the truth of my life is that God is near and not far away, pilgrimage for me is a search for God and Godâ€™s goodness. Pilgrimage has to do with a change of heart. The outward, physical journey serves to frame an inner journey: a journey of repentance and rebirth; a journey which seeks a deeper faith, and greater holiness; a journey towards God.
Yeah, that's what I'm after.
So, around June 20 we need to get to Calgary to catch a flight to Glasgow. Then a week on a Scottish Island where God has been meeting with people for hundreds of years. Then a week of time to do what else there is to do there. Then back to Calgary and home for the rest of Sabbatical.
And yeah, this summer is to be about Spiritual renewal, discernment. It's about hearing and walking for extended seasons of time, with the God I serve.
It's about pilgrimage to the cross again, and to hear God tell me how he's made me to be, and how exactly that fits into the next portion of my life.
This is shaping up to be the marker for the next half of my days on this planet.
I know that's a lot to watch for, but I also know God's ability to meet with me. And I sense that this summer is turning into a much bigger connection between him and I than I originally believed.
Bring on the Sabbatical.