Summary: For many of us today our world is a strange place that we find hard to navigate through just as if we were Pilgrims. In many ways it’s as if we have just landed and have no idea of where we are. With all the strange things we encounter it is hard to rec
A Pilgrims Thanksgiving
A famous Presbyterian used the word Pilgrim in one of his movies and it became part of American movie legend. That movie legend was Marion Robert Morrison better known to you and me as John Wayne.
“I know I'm gonna use good judgement. I haven't lost my temper in 40 years, but pilgrim you caused a lot of trouble this monring, might have got somebody killed....” from the movie McClintock
Funny thing how the use of the word Pilgrim stuck with John Wayne as every impersonator used it to enhance their vocal impersonation of – The Duke.
That word (Pilgrim) is about as American as John Wayne is.
It’s a good word that has a lot of meaning and conveys some unique characteristics.
Webster dictionary defines a Pilgrim as:
1: one who journeys in foreign lands: wayfarer
2: one who travels to a shrine or holy place as a devotee
3: capitalized: one of the English colonists settling at Plymouth in 1620
In today’s scripture passage we read about Jesus appearing on the road to Emmaus. Our NIV translation reads verse 18 as: 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, "Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?"
Cleopas was Jesus Uncle see John 19:25
But if you were to read that same passage from a Bible that the settlers of Plymouth Rock carried with them it would read pilgrim instead of visitor. Their bible was the Geneva Bible which our John Knox contributed to.
The word used as visitor here is derived from the Greek word paroikeo (par-oy-keh-oh) which means a stranger who sojourns in other words a pilgrim.
But you will not find the word used in the entire NIV bible we have a lot of words that fall out of use and others that become common place but words do matter and some are irreplaceable when conveying a clear message.
I like the word pilgrim because it defines someone who is on a spiritual quest but who is a stranger in the land.
Our Native North Americans have a tradition of a Spirit quest that young men embark on. It was the First Nations people of North America that made the first Thanksgiving possible and introduced the settlers to new foods and agricultural techniques.
For many of us today our world is a strange place that we find hard to navigate through just as if we were Pilgrims. In many ways it’s as if we have just landed and have no idea of where we are. With all the strange things we encounter it is hard to recognize that which is familiar.
These two disciples were the ones who should have been called pilgrims not Jesus. They had lost their orientation they had lost their sense of direction – their spiritual direction because they had lost hope.
They like so many other Jewish people they had hoped that Jesus was the Messiah that would raise up an army and crush the Romans who were the foreign power occupying the land.
They did not realize that Jesus was the perfect sacrifice who would crush sin and death and open the gates of Heaven to all who would believe in him. They were looking for the type of King that this world offers not the King of eternity.
In fact these two disciples were going in the wrong direction they were going away from Jerusalem to Emmaus.
How many of us have gotten turned around by the world we live in? How many of us have hoped for one thing and seen our hopes dashed? How many of us have tried hard to see the familiar landmarks only to discover they are no longer there. Maybe we were looking in the wrong place or facing the wrong direction or had the map upside down.
Our world and our lives can be very confusing. Lots of people offer guidance and direction but often even they seem to be headed in the wrong direction.
Some people actually follow their G.P.S. even when it gives them wrong information.
Just how are we to find our way? Who can you look to for direction?
Jesus pointed these two disciples to God’s Holy word starting with Genesis and all the way through the Prophets.
In the Bible Jesus showed how his story had been woven into history from the very beginning. Only then did these two pilgrims begin to find their way.
Friends we are only human trying to make our way as Pilgrims – as strangers in a strange land as Abraham put it. Exodus 2:22 KJV
We can get turned around very easily amidst all the conflicting signs and roads that our world offers us today. If that happens to us then we need to go to the Bible and find the roadmap.