“To go on pilgrimage is not simply to visit a place to admire its treasures of nature, art or history. To go on pilgrimage really means to step out of ourselves in order to encounter God ... Christians go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to Rome, and also to Compostela… to strengthen their spirit with the witness of faith and love.”
- Pope Francis
Pilgrimages have been around for millenniums and are critical parts of most religious traditions. Human kind has an internal desire to find the divine in unique locations that provide meaning to our lives. Often these locations come from our heritage and the stories we hear of God becoming real and present to our ancestors. We hold a view that in these sacred places the bridge between our world and God is closer and more accessible than the settings we find ourselves in each day.
Pilgrimages are about the search for God and/or moral significance in our life. Many times the upheld locations call us forward to meet the creator however the journey there is what shapes us and connects us with who we are and what God is calling us to be in this world.
Pilgrimage is an attempt to align our lives with what is right. To find peace, make spiritual progress, and encounter the divine. It's about living simply and moving toward what is sacred in our lives. Since it is a journey of physically going to a sacred space so does our hearts and souls. It is a journey both inward and outward with respect for the past and the present.
Community of Christ Heritage
As part of the greater christian community, Community of Christ joins with those in journeying to find God in their life from the sacred places of the past. Here is a list of the "6 Top Christian Pilgrimages" brought to you by lightworkers. com for you to check out.
With this churches unique heritage it provides additional sacred spaces to which we travel with the hope to find the divine. Let's look closer at these places represented in this tradition.
1. Kirtland Temple - During the early years of the latter day saints movement the Kirtland Temple was built by a community of believers. It was a place of community life anchored by the church and its beliefs. It was at this sacred space where many people felt the presence of God moving within their hearts and souls. To learn more about the Kirtland Temple and other historic sites please go to the Historic Sites Foundation.
2. Sacred Grove - In Palmyra, NY in this sacred grove is where a young Joseph Smith, Jr. had an encounter with God speaking into him a message of community through the love of Jesus that was unlike the other messages at this time. It was through this encounter where Joseph moved forward in creating this movement. Please check out this Sacred Grove link if you would like to learn more.
3. Nauvoo - Built along the Illinois banks of the Mississippi River Joseph Smith established another place for people to gather in community. It is here where Joseph Smith and his family lived out their lives. Though there are some difficult topics and practices that came from this time in the church the site remains as part of our heritage despite our current beliefs.
4. The Plano Stone Church - This church in Plano, Illinois was built and served as this denominations headquarters in the mid 19th century. Joseph Smith III started his trek as President in this area causing this to be an important piece of this denominations history.
5. Liberty Hall - Liberty Hall is located in Lamoni, IA and was the home of President Joseph Smith III. It also served as the headquarters for the RLDS now Community of Christ during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
6. The Temple and Auditorium - Located in Independence, MO this now serves as the headquarters for Community of Christ. Across the street they stand together creating a beautiful area for people to gather. Both are open to the public and the Temple is dedicated to the pursuit of peace. Fill free to stop in and tour both facilities as you walk the worshippers path.
Where are you going? What is your destination? Where is God calling you to pilgrimage? Go, look, search, and find for your place in this world.
I encourage all of you to journey to the places that are sacred in your life. Reflect and ponder on what has conspired and yet what is to come. Where do you find peace and significance? Where is the divine guiding you?
Thank you all for those sharing the blog. This week I challenge you to share the blog on Facebook with your friends.
This week really think about how pilgrimage could impact your life.
The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Community of Christ. We believe individuals should be allowed to have their own opinions and be at different places in their faith journey.