December 4, 2013

Making a Pilgrimage

            When Chaucer wrote his Canterbury Tales in medieval England, he narrated the various interactions among the fellow pilgrims.  In this initial blog after arriving in Yangon, I will offer reflection about what I anticipate will occur among our Baptist pilgrims who have come here to celebrate the Judson history.  [I trust we do not have many similarities of those racy characters among our august body.]
            When people travel together for a holy purpose, those they travel with matter almost as much as their destination.  Seeing things through one another’s eyes and finding new insight from the differing perspectives greatly enriches the experience.
            We have a wonderful contingent, which includes chaplains, pastors, business people, professors, a nurse practitioner (thankfully), a former missionary, a student nearing completion of her study (while serving as a pastor), a former ABC regional minister, and seminary leaders, including a great photographer/videographer.  I am grateful for each of these companions.
            Arriving late last night from Hong Kong, we were met by our friend Dr. Maung Maung Yin of Myanmar Institute of Theology.  His smile welcomed us, and we felt we could navigate more surefootedly with his guidance.  He will accompany us as we travel south today to visit historic Judson sites.
            Our pilgrims bring a life-long interest in the Judson history, a love of mission, an appreciation of Baptist heritage, and intellectual curiosity about the rapid changes occurring in this country.  They also bring good humor about challenging travel and a genuine delight in simply being together.  All of this bodes well for a blessed horizon of learning and spiritual renewal.

           A special aspect of our journey will be the presentations Angie Barker Jackson offers.  As a part of her Master of Divinity as a create scholar, she has studied the Judson history and will enrich our time by offering information and reflection at historical sites.
            Some of our pilgrims will bring questions of education, medical care, human rights (especially those of women), of the economics of native artisans, of ministry, and of theological education. Posing these along the way will illumine what we will  experience together.
            We journey in the season of Advent.  The word “adventure” bears close meaning.  We anticipate being met by the presence of Christ as we sojourn here for the next week, indeed, meeting his holy presence in new ways.

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