The Heart in Pilgrimage

Michael Wilcock

Read: Hebrews 11:8-16

Strangers and pilgrims on the earth. (v. 13 KJV)

Pilgrimages are as fashionable today as they have ever been. English pilgrims who would once have ridden, or even walked, to Canterbury, now fly to Israel. The idea was already there in Bible times, as many of the psalms tell us, with devout Israelites making a pilgrim journey to Jerusalem perhaps three times every year. Jesus himself did that more than once.

Our reading in Hebrews 11 gives the concept a significant twist. All today’s pilgrimages are excursions to somewhere special, from which in due course you return home. The Bible people in this chapter saw things differently. The special place towards which they were travelling was home; not the home from which they had set out, but a “city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God” (v. 10). Throughout their lives they were travelling towards it, however long they might linger in this or that place along the route. They had come to see that Old Testament Jerusalem was simply the prototype of an infinitely greater Jerusalem. We, like them, are on our way there; not going on a visit, but going home.

Prayer is “the heart in pilgrimage”; talking with the Lord about every event as another stage in the journey, storing up all that has happened so far as experiences in his master plan, accepting all that lies ahead as a series of further stages on the way; metaphorically “living in tents” till we reach that “better country.” —Michael Wilcock

Prayer: We’ll praise you for all that is past, and trust you for all that’s to come.