The Power of Pilgrimage

Not just a hike.
Not just about the destination.

At first glance, pilgrimage may seem to be a relic of the Middle Ages.  What comes up for you when you hear the word "pilgrimage?" The characters of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales? Images of dim, musty churches containing the bones of saints?  Hordes of the weary and desperate trying to win God's favour by trudging mile after mile?  Is pilgrimage a worthwhile endeavour for Christians today?

Pilgrimage has its roots in the Biblical practice of going up to Jerusalem for the three Pilgrim Feasts: Pesach (Passover), Shavout (Pentecost) and Sukkot (Feast of Booths).  God commanded His Jewish people to make a physical journey for a spiritual purpose as part of their yearly rhythms.  The Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120-134) were the "pilgrim hymnal" of the Jews as they left their homes and walked the roads to the Holy City.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains--where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of Heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip--
He who watches over your will not slumber;
indeed, He who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.  --Psalm 121: 1-4

While it is true that the medieval Christian Church turned pilgrimage into a means to earn God's grace (head to the tomb of a saint, light a candle, touch a relic and receive some measure of merited favour), this is not what our pilgrimages are all about...

Pilgrimage is about ENCOUNTER

The 5-Fold Encounter of an East Mountain Pilgrimage

*The encounter with God's beauty in Creation
*The encounter with our fellow pilgrims
*The encounter with our own stories; our joys and pains *The encounter with the saints who have walked the road before us
*The encounter with God

Pilgrimage is a brilliant example of "kinesthetic learning": learning while moving the body and interacting with the environment.  We often say, "Let the walk do the work!"  Something happens along the way.  Something special!

East Mountain Pilgrimage


Wall End, Saltoun Hall Gardens
Pencaitland EH34 5DS, GB

About us

East Mountain UK is a registered charity in the United Kingdom (charity no. 1174595).  We operate in the domains of leadership development, spiritual formation, discipleship and ministry of presence.

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