Pilgrims on the gold dirt road in God’s Country

Blake Shelton’s “God’s Country” inspires deeper thoughts about living this life with enthusiasm as we journey on the pilgrim road that will take us home. The second line says, “There’s a gold dirt road to a whole lot of nothin’ ”.

When I see the road from my father’s farm to the church on the hill, I see a golden road where there used to be dust. And it’s a road that leads to everything, because this is God’s country.

The solid philosophy in “God’s Country” gives us direction and purpose. We work hard all week, pray for rain, grow grain for money, and we put it back on the plate in church on Sunday morning, because this is God’s country.

We share the bread Sunday, and the baptisms in holy water, and we’re proud to be from God’s country. We need to take this life and live it with enthusiasm, carrying our weaknesses on our way to meet the Lord.

Take this life and live it! Reminds me of Leonard Cohen’s “Take this waltz, take this waltz. It’s yours now. It’s all that there is.” Take this life, with its sensuality and beauty! Take this life and live it. All is gift from God.

We need to take this life and live it, carrying our weaknesses with us as we go on our journey to meet the Lord. Sometimes we go “with a garland of freshly cut tears” (Cohen). We thank God when it’s raining, and we see the light in the sunshine (“God’s Country” Scott Johnson and Scott Hendricks). 

We are all homeward bound as we travel the pilgrim road of this life. May we have the vision to see the gold in the dust on the road that seems to lead to nothing. 

There are favorite pilgrim roads like the Camino Santiago in Spain that is bursting with culture and the greatest ethnic food stops along the way.

There is the Jordan Trail in the Holy Land that covers at least 3,000 years of biblical history. The path Moses and Aaron walked goes by the birthplace of the prophet Elijah. The full route takes at least 40 days. 

“The Jordan Trail goes through 52 villages, four different kinds of landscapes – from red sand cold deserts to fertile green valleys with thermal waters, and several different ancient pilgrimage and trade routes.” (Aleteia May 16, 2019)

Then, closer to home there is the St. Philomena Walking Pilgrimage, August 11-14, from Yorkton to the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, Rama, Saskatchewan – 95.8 kilometres in 19 hours 22 minutes. For details or to register: www.stphilomenawalkingpilgrimage.org.

Rama’s St Philomena Walking Pilgrimage, in this its first year, will pass points of interest as it leaves Yorkton heading for Rama: the Orcadia Radar Bass and the White Spruce Youth Treatment Centre, the Orkeney Stone Presbyterian Church (1894) and School, and the Good Spirit sand dunes.

A pilgrimage is traveling on a path that is special to one’s faith. Normally the pilgrim has time to pray, to spend time with God and be freed from the concerns of everyday life. Often the pilgrim is looking for peace or healing, and to grow closer to God. And doesn’t that describe our daily lives?

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By Ken Rolheiser