Pilgrimpace's Blog


forbidden pilgrimage

Cup of darkness:

The quiet late summer garden;
the red of the dahlia
filling my sight
with carpets of poppies
and those bloody images
of children in Gaza

As part of my praying and contemplating and doing what I can to oppose the slaughter in Gaza, I came across this very interesting film yesterday Forbidden Pilgrimage:

Pilgrimage to sites associated with the life and ministry of Jesus has been a significant aspect of Christian faith since the earliest centuries AD. Group tours to the ‘Holy Land’ are still very much part of the culture of practising Christians but are primarily organised by Israeli travel agents.

This film hears passionate views from Palestinian priests, a Christian tour operator and a British writer as they speak out against the obstacles facing pilgrims visiting sacred sites today, particularly Bethlehem and Nazareth. It also covers the recent history of discrimination against Palestinian Christians generally – and the wider problems threatening their survival.

This is definitely worth a watch, and is born out by the witness of mission partners at St Bede’s who have recently returned from working in Bethlehem and Cairo.

I have always been in two minds about pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  If I were to go, is there a way of doing it which involves staying with and hearing from Christian sisters and brothers there?

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2 Comments so far
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I have never really been attracted to the notion of visiting “holy sites”. My walk from my front door this morning, a walk that I have learnt how to pray, is to me as much a pilgrimage as a visit to the Holy Land. The one thing that would change my mind about a visit to the “Holy Land” would be to offer some solidarity to my suffering brothers and sisters. But then the same would be true in a visit to Damascus or Mosul. Some wonderful saints in those places have lain down their lives in witness to the incarnation, death & resurrection of Christ in this last year.

Comment by stephencwinter

Thanks for these thoughts Stephen. I think for me, pilgrimage is a wonderful mix of the journey and the people and the place. Much to ponder! Thank you

Comment by pilgrimpace




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