God, Guard these your children who, for love of your Name, make a pilgrimage. Be their companion on the way, their guide at the crossroads, their strength in weariness, their defense in dangers, their shelter on the path, heir shade in the heat, their light in the darkness, their comfort in discouragement, and the firmness of their intentions; that through your guidance, they may arrive safely at the end of their journey. (Pilgrims Prayer)
The IRONY does not escape me…
A white, US CITIZEN travels a great distance to the border of a SPANISH speaking country. He crosses through an otherwise unused mountain pass, WITHOUT DOCUMENTATION, walking 900 kilometers. All because he hopes for a BETTER LIFE.
I spent a portion of my time on my pilgrimage learning about another CAMINO. One from the other side of the world, One where citizens of SPANISH speaking countries travel unbelievable distances, through unimaginable dangers, risking death often daily, WITHOUT DOCUMENTATION, to reach the UNITED STATES. All because of their hope for a BETTER LIFE.
I would not dare to compare my pilgrimage to theirs. And, I am so thankful for the experiences I have had that have turned my thoughts to the hurting around the world.
I am thankful for the experience of carrying all my resources on my back.
I am thankful for the opportunity to entrust the end of every day to the hospitality of strangers.
I am thankful for the gift of weariness, pain in my muscles and injury.
I am thankful for the moments of discouragement.
I am thankful for the fear of losing my way.
I am thankful that there was zero fear of death, torture of violence.
I am thankful that I always had money to easily bail me out of any problem.
I am thankful to cross into a country that welcomed me and treated me with dignity and cared for my needs as Jesus might:
(Prayer for the Stranger): For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,… Matthew 25:35
God of the stranger, the refugee, the one who is lost; help us to open our hearts and arms to those who are seeking safety, peace and sanctuary from war, hunger, economic crisis, natural disasters and other things that force people to leave their homes and move into the unknown future.
We are commanded to feed the hungry, provide water for the thirsty and to welcome the stranger.
Keep us from our prejudice and preconceived opinions that block our way to living into call for us as people of faith. Help us, guide us and nudge us forward to be the people who welcome the stranger in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.