I think John Bunyan would have something swell to say about my post today…not that I’ve read his work on the Pilgrim’s Progress. I’ve been falling into all sorts of summer laziness. My laundry has not been done in weeks nor have I vacuumed my apartment. I haven’t written something publishable (as this blog would have you know) in months! Worst of all, is my prayer life is definitely touch and go. Are you struggling with lazy summer days too?
This past weekend saw me driving (yet again) for hours on end. I was in hour 5 of a drive across our diocese the other day listening to my newest podcast addiction, and it spoke of the word ‘paraoikos’. Stick with me on this brief root-word lesson because it’s leading somewhere cool, I promise!
So breaking it down – ‘oikos’ means ‘home/dwelling’ (Oikos yogurt anyone??) and ‘para’ means ‘beside or near to’. So ‘paraoikos’ means literally, ‘a place beside a home.’
Our English word ‘parish’ comes from this Greek word, ‘paraoikos’. So, bringing it full circle, our parishes are places near our actual home – heaven. #Mindblown. Epiphany anyone?
The podcast then went on to say that this points back to the fact that we are always pilgrims as we are always journeying towards our eternal home.
This past weekend, I joined many pilgrims on something called the Rose Prince pilgrimage in our diocese of Prince George. You can read more about the life of Rose Prince here. Between the pilgrimage this weekend and receiving a postcard from Becs who has just completed the Camino de Santiago as y’all know, I couldn’t help but reflect on what it means to be a pilgrim (especially if to be a Christian means to be a pilgrim for this whole life!).
Becs would probably have you know that being a pilgrim means few showers, being dirty and smelly, and for me the worst part – it means relying on people along the way to help you out and take you in. When you’re a pilgrim, you are open to whatever the day will bring you. I re-experienced this weekend the beauty of being a pilgrim – it means being in community with others and sharing in their journey too and being surprised by what the day brings.
I find I am in a totally different mindset when I am a pilgrim vs. living out my everyday life in the office. But this shouldn’t be the case. We are always pilgrims!
Man, this shifts so much of my perspective. I wonder at how many people do not know they are still journeying. We get so comfortable (and lazy!) forgetting that we are not yet home. There is my kick in the pants.
Becs, I miss you and hope you know that you are still a pilgrim even off the Camino!