Monday, August 8, 2011

Going beyond ...

On arrival in Segovia everyone was struck by the amazing aqueduct that dominates the landscape. As we wander backwards and forwards from the hotel to the town, the view is simple amazing. Yet the landscape offers an amazing image for the journey that all pilgrims are now on, that of going beyond tourism.

Today in his afternoon talk Bishop David shared how St John of the Cross wrote about the first barrier, that of stopping doing what we don't want to do in order to do the things we want to do. The image Bishop David used was that of going beyond the mountains to discover what is on the other side. We are all faced with the challenge of moving beyond what we normally do to see what is beyond.

On pilgrimage, this is about going beyond being a tourist to become a pilgrim. Today as we toured the main castle, or Alcazar, we were treated like tourists. We were given dates and facts about the building and the royalty that lived there. The challenge is to move out of this into the spiritual journey that God is taking us on. So after an afternoon of being a tourist, we can remain tired or we can focus on the insights of our Bishop that take us deeper.

The town of Segovia is surrounded by hills that block the view to the towns beyond. The people of ancient Segovia would have to leave the safety of their Alcazar to see what was beyond what they knew. Whilst on pilgrimage tourist activity can also block the view to the spiritual beyond the day in a new town. As pilgrims we must go beyond the safety of our normal relationship with God to travel to a relationship that we can't see. If we have the courage to go beyond then we will receive the benefits that pilgrims receive that tourist can't even imagine.

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