Pilgrimpace's Blog

Good Friday
April 14, 2017, 11:35 am
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Crucifix from Monserrat

“Let us nail ourselves to him, resisting the temptation to stand apart, or to join others in mocking him.”

– Pope Benedict

the way

“I stop once again at the Iglesia de Crucifijo to see if I can feel again what I felt earlier in the morning in this great old church.  Well, it isn’t the same, of course; that seldom happens in life.  But something slightly different is waiting for me here on this second visit into the crucified one’s world: this camino is already more than a road for me.  It is a way.  It is his way.  I’m on it with him.  In spite of so many indications to the contrary, when all is said and done, I realize now, I actually like this way.  It is simple and true and. I now know, it is a way that can only be understood by walking along a road like the camino, walking as he walked, gazing at rising suns, passing through sunflower fields, tending to aching feet, eating and drinking with strangers, one step at a time but a million steps all in all.  Steps that get me there.”

– Kevin Codd To the Field of Stars


lenten journey 12
March 17, 2013, 4:54 pm
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“On a Theme from Julian’s Chapter XX”

by Denise Levertov

Six hours outstretched in the sun, yes,
hot wood, the nails, blood trickling
into the eyes, yes —
but the thieves on their neighbor crosses
survived till after the soldiers
had come to fracture their legs, or longer.
Why single out the agony? What’s
a mere six hours?
Torture then, torture now,
the same, the pain’s the same,
immemorial branding iron,
electric prod.
Hasn’t a child
dazed in the hospital ward they reserve
for the most abused, known worse?
The air we’re breathing,
these very clouds, ephemeral billows
languid upon the sky’s
moody ocean, we share
with women and men who’ve held out
days and weeks on the rack —
and in the ancient dust of the world
what particles
of the long tormented,
what ashes.

But Julian’s lucid spirit leapt
to the difference:
perceived why no awe could measure
that brief day’s endless length,
why among all the tortured
One only is “King of Grief.”
The oneing, she saw, the oneing
with the Godhead opened him utterly
to the pain of all minds, all bodies
— sands of the sea, of the desert —
from first beginning
to last day. The great wonder is
that the human cells of His flesh and bone
didn’t explode
when utmost imagination rose
in that flood of knowledge. Unique
in agony, Infinite strength, Incarnate,
empowered Him to endure
inside of history,
through those hours when he took to Himself
the sum total of anguish and drank
even the lees of that cup:

within the mesh of the web, Himself
woven within it, yet seeing it,
seeing it whole. Every sorrow and desolation
He saw, and sorrowed in kinship.

lenten journey – four
February 29, 2012, 2:56 pm
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Closing the Door


Across the world

hatred, hunger,

death, disease.


In the street

lost, damaged,

shouting angry pain.


Those we depend


choose the wrong side.


I come inside

close the door

and you are watching me

curled on your cross

on the wall.


Slow work

of  sacrifice and love.

Holy Cross Day
September 14, 2011, 2:10 pm
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John V Taylor in his excellent collection of sermons The Easter God quotes a Thomas Blackburn poem that describes how he and his wife discovered a broken crucifix in the Alps and brought back the worm-eaten figure to hang in their home:

Because it says nothing reasonable

It explains nothing away,

And just by gazing into darkness

Is able to mean more than words can say.


I haven’t been able to trace the poem this is from.  I’d be grateful if anyone can tell me.

via crucis
April 22, 2011, 7:54 am
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April 10, 2011, 6:44 am
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Our Lenten pilgrimage becomes much sharper as we enter Passiontide.

Almighty and everliving God,
in your tender love towards us
you sent your Son to take our nature upon him,
and to suffer death upon the cross;
grant that we may follow the example
of his great humility
and share in his glorious resurrection:

through him who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.

hard times

This has been a long hard Lent, although today is only the third Sunday.  The cuts are arriving.  Weoley Castle Community Projects, of which I am Chair, was in The Guardian on Friday:

Weoley Castle Community Projects, Birmingham

Cut: £5,000 (15%)

Weoley Castle offers a support service for up to 30 local elderly people every day in a church hall. It provides company, conversation, a proper meal, entertainment and care. Many of those using the service would otherwise be alone during the day.

But a 15% cut – from £33,000 to £28,000 – means the project has had to make two part-time staff redundant and reduce the amount of day care offered, from five days to four days a week. It has had a significant impact on those who have nowhere to go on the fifth day and have little extra care at home.

The project has also had to send out first stage redundancy letters to all its day care staff as there is no word of future funding from 1 April.

Kate Pearson, a trustee of the Weoley Castle project, says: “It doesn’t make any sense at all. We provide value for money. What happens to clients when we’re not there? We’re being honest about the pressures facing us, but the majority of our clients will find it hard to understand because they are in the early stages of dementia. But they have noticed the redundancies and a few are extremely anxious.”

It is going to be a hard and difficult week.  Prayers please for the Project, those who use its services, the staff and volunteers, the trustees, and hard pressed Council Officers.

Thanks to the half a million people who Marched for an Alternative in London yesterday.  Now is a critical time for working for a creative and just future.

As we journey through Lent, it is a time also for faith, for walking in the Way of the Cross, for hope in the Resurrection and in the Kingdom of God – on earth as it is in heaven.


place of prayer

This is the mantlepiece in my study, one of the places I look when I am praying.  Here is the late afternoon sun.

Contemplating the picture, I am struck by how much this speaks of pilgrimage and of how, at the same time, it is so rooted in my being at home in ways that are about physical stillness.  There is the large photograph of the Portico of Glory.  I was given several of the icons and pictures while on the Camino, including one of the paintings of Christ Fray Luis at Oseira Monastery gives to all the pilgrims who stay there.

Perhaps this question around what it means to be a pilgrim – while not being on pilgrimage (and not going on a walking pilgrimage for a while) – is something that can be become more explicit and be pondered in the summer holidays.

the other side
June 2, 2010, 9:48 am
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Contemplating the crucifix from different angles brings different gifts