Aliens are characterized by their strange ways and foreign habits. Pilgrims are such aliens, whose home- and fatherland is in a holy land to where they are on the way or at least where their thoughts and desires are focussed. If we are aliens and strangers in this world, then this worlds ways and customs will not be ours. If we are pilgrims then our ways and habits will be those of our holy destination, where we will finally be at home and thus truly belonging. Holy customs and habits will characterise God’s aliens and pilgrims. They live accordingly even in this world. It doesn’t take much for them to live in this way, because it’s their way of living and being. They speak that language and they are at home in its ways, habits and customs. Thus God’s pilgrims are not strained to live according to the divine rules and regulations. Rather they are empowered by the Spirit of that godly land and people to which they have been called and to where they are on the way.
Come children let’s be going as its toward evening and its dangerous standing in this deserted place. Come, strengthen your resolve to strive towards eternity. The destination is well worth it and very much our home.
You will not be disappointed having gone the narrow pilgrim’s route. We know the faithful caller. Come, follow and trust him. Turn your face and intention determined to Jerusalem!
If it goes against the sinful ways, then that’s good and right. Our sinful flesh and human intuition are not really keen pilgrims. Leave all that stops or hinders behind – we move forward through letting go and dying.
We have to move like pilgrims: free, light and unfettered. Collecting, holding on to much burdens pilgrim’s progress. Don’t carry yourself to death, but rather be content with little – we only need the very basics.
Decorate your hearts rather than your house or body. We’re just foreign guests and on the way already. Too much comfort is unsettling as we need to pass the short days of pilgrimage awake and alert.
Even if the path is narrow – lonely, stony and not safe with many thorns and crosses – remember: It’s only the way. Let it be, we’re on our way, following our leading saviour und breaking out of bondage to eternal liberty! (Gerhard Terstegen, 1697-1769)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for the third Sunday after Easter: Jubilate. It is found on Pg. 180 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.