Step two on the Disciple’s Way

Those of you who read about Goldilocks a few weeks ago will know that I have embarked on writing and delivering a discipleship course entitled ‘The Disciple’s Way’. The course aims to recapture the image of discipleship as pilgrimage, with all that entails about journey, destination, travelling light and travelling together. This week we were looking at provisions for the journey, and noting that God often expects those whom he sends out on his business to travel light.

Alongside Emilio Estevez’ film ‘The Way‘, I have been reading Jack Hitt’s modern account of his trip along the route to Santiago di Compostella ‘Off the road’. In it he discusses the way in which medieval pilgrims were exempt from the laws of those countries through which they crossed on their way. This being so, a code of conduct was applied to them – the forerunner of international law.  For a pilgrim to fall under such jurisdiction, they had to be recognisable as such – which is how the ‘uniform’ below was born.

Simplicity is the watchword here –  gourd for water, a scrip for a few possessions, a staff to lean on and cloak and hat for protection from the elements. I wonder how that would go down at the Christian Resources Exhibition? I know you can’t turn back the clock and invent a simplicity we no longer have – but these resonances of pilgrimage are causing many to rethink the supposed sophistication of twenty-first century Christian living.

Combined with the image above, these words penned by Walter Raleigh in prison in 1603 make for interesting reading:

Give me my scallop-shell of quiet,
My staff of faith to walk upon,
My scrip of joy, immortal diet,
My bottle of salvation,
My gown of glory, hope’s true gage ;
And thus I’ll take my pilgrimage

On with the journey…