The original state of a Christian is a state, indeed, of extreme evil, of unspeakable misery, and of impending peril! So it was with Ancient Israel. The history of Israel is full of analogies of the great facts and events in the Christian life. When Moses and Aaron failed in their first attempt with Pharaoh, and brought increased oppression upon them, Israel looked at their position as dark indeed.
For nearly four hundred years they had been in Egypt, and most of that time in bondage under despotic Pharaohs and cruel taskmasters. But the Lord had promised deliverance to Israel, and, in due time, that deliverance had to come, for the Lord makes good His every promise. To accomplish this great deliverance, wonders of God were wrought. By the hand of Moses, He led them in a pillar of fire by night and in a pillar of cloud by day, led them to and led them through the Red Sea, the waters of which became the grave of their pursuing enemies.
Thus Israel, by the great might of God, came forth from the darkness and bondage of Egypt a free people. Thus the pilgrimage of Israel began in a great deliverance. Even so the spiritual pilgrimage of the Christian begins in a great deliverance. As the cloud and the sea became the elements by which the children of Israel were separated unto the Lord as His covenant people, so the cloud and the sea became prototypes of the New Covenant Sacrament of Baptism.
The bodily deliverance of Israel in the Red Sea is a type of the soul deliverance of the Christian in waters of Holy Baptism. The Christian, then, begins his earthly pilgrimage with a miraculous deliverance.
Holy Land Pilgrimage Guidelines
He begins it also with marvelous prospects and promises. The Covenant of Baptism is evidence to the Christian that he is a child and heir of God, an immovable and indisputable fact; and that whatever his pilgrimage on earth may be, God will most surely lead him according to His promise, and at last usher him into the immediate presence of the Lamb. Israel was a people walking by faith as to the future. So, in faith and hope and love to God, the Christian from his earliest childhood, through blooming youth and mature manhood, to ripe old age, has his eyes placed and fixed on the Land of Promise.
In many respects, Christians are very different from one another. There are the rich, the poor, the powerful, the oppressed, the honored, the despised, the strong, the weak, the old, the young; there are some always cheerful and contented, others are continually discontented and downcast. But in one respect, all Christians are alike — they are all travelers, all pilgrims. Life here on earth is the way on which they all travel.
Eternity is the end of the way, the destination toward which they are all constantly hastening. The way of the Christian, Holy Writ prescribes as the way of godliness and righteousness. Some of the chief characteristics of the way are — faith, contrition, confession of Christ, self-denial.
How the souls of the Israelites must have been stimulated to endure the trials and privations of the desert life through which they passed by the thought of reaching the Land of Promise, Canaan. Canaan was a land goodly and glorious.
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Thus saith the Lord Deut. But however bright the prospects of these people, they cannot be compared to those that beckon the Christian. All men are journeying, but many travel on a way that is dreary, and toward a destination that is unspeakably dreadful.
What is the Point of a Pilgrimage?
The Christian pilgrim journeys to the spiritual Canaan, which is frequently regarded as a type of heaven. He advances not to a material inheritance but to a spiritual inheritance of perfect holiness and love, and peace, and joy. He journeys to an assured destiny, for the words of the Lord to Israel of old apply with equal force and validity in every age! The pious Christian, who enjoys such glorious prospects, who possesses the grace of God himself, and, who believes that they who possess it not, will be lost, surely will make honest effort to save them.
Immediately succeeding his own spiritual well-being, the Christian will seek that of his own kindred.
What is the Point of a Pilgrimage? | Simply Catholic
That principle we find clearly and abundantly taught by our Lord and His apostles. How much do we do in this respect? The Christian pilgrim can do much good to his fellow-pilgrims by kindly companionship, fraternal sympathy and fellowship. Add to this the benefits of a good example. How great the influence of example! Its power is abundantly exemplified and established on every hand.
When it is for good, what a powerful agency to correct and improve imperfections and the wrong, to stimulate and strengthen the doing of good and right. He is gently and humbly disposed toward everybody, and interprets all things for the best where he sees things are not going right. Luther was indeed a pattern of a praying Christian. The Christians are but pilgrims in the world.
The city they seek is not to be found on earth; it is the home of the soul in the mansions above, which the Savior has purchased for them with the price of His blood, and prepared for them. The Christian must not set his affection on things of the earth, but on things above Col. Let us consider some of them. The Christian pilgrimage viewed as a service. Jesus Christ is our example as a servant. He wrought with his own hands as an artisan. We should follow it. Christian service must not be separated from the common concerns of daily life.
Talents, fitness, opportunities, regulate individual service. The Christian pilgrimage viewed as a battle. Life is a battle.
Physical life is a battle. Men have to conquer the forces of nature, contend with fire, wind, and water, and subdue the earth by tillage, in order to gain the materials necessary to support physical life. Again, it is a battle; for disease strives with health, destructive wars with restoration, depression competes with prosperity.
Many hardships are common to all, but all do not enter nor wage the battle of life with the same advantages. With the frigid wind racing off the lake adjacent to the camp, a cold chill cut to the bone. We paused, taking in the magnitude of the camp.
We imagined thousands of women standing in line each morning, some in ankle-deep icy water and trembling, the cold tearing through their light prison jackets. We pictured guards barking orders, prohibiting the women from crossing their arms to stay warm. All they could do to ward off hypothermia and stay alert was stomp their feet. And that was essential because when a prisoner collapsed, the guards hauled her away to the infirmary, which really meant one thing: the gas chamber.
Fighting off the swirling wind after crossing that hallowed space, we made our way to the back of the camp, where some of the original barracks still stood. Though each was planned to house women, 1, were stuffed in like cattle, creating unsanitary conditions that allowed disease to spread like wildfire. When Corrie and Betsie first crawled into their beds, they gasped in horror because fleas were everywhere.
But Betsie, much better at suffering than Corrie, reminded her that God says to give thanks in all things—even fleas. She just knew her sister had to be wrong. But Corrie and Betsie later learned why the clandestine Bible studies they held in that squalid place were never discovered: The guards refused to enter it for daily inspections because they were afraid of the fleas.
We had discussed this story many times with our kids. But it took on new meaning for us. There was a new emotional connection between the story and the historical location. There was a deeper meaning to the experience.
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It was almost as if we were there to witness the ten Boom sisters as they preached God is in control and encouraged the women that the best was yet to come. For this, I journeyed on alone. To my left was the camp wall, covered with memorial plaques for the dead.
A mass grave ran along the foot of the wall. As I turned to my right to look out over the lake, the wind struck my face.