Therefore since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. (Hebrew 12: 1,2)
I could not help but think about this today as I was reflecting again on pilgrimage.
Pilgrims prepared well for their journeys as they expected to be gone from home for a long time if not forever. They wore a special costume, a brown woolen robe that was long enough to wrap around them at night to sleep. This costume was regarded as both a penance and an honour. It both identified the person as a pilgrim and helped them to beg alms on the way. A cross decorated the sleeve. On the head was a broad brimmed hat usually turned up to display the pilgrim badge and symbols of the shrines he had already visited. Slung around the neck was a scrip with two days food and a large knife and a flask for water. The pilgrim aso carried a long stout staff which was for vaulting over streams, climbing hills and as defense against outlaws and wild animals.
What difference would it make to our lives if we prepared for our Christian journeys in this way – recognizing that we are meant to be distinguished from the world around us with a very different purpose and a very different way of living?