NEW

We Wish You a Merry Saturnalia: Northern Churchman

We Wish You a Merry Saturnalia? The Northern Churchman There is a familiar feel to this time of year. The Christmas advertising on television, the darker evenings, the Carol Services – and the inevitable scoffers who call the Christmas story a myth. Not ‘Once in Royal...

Mark Pickles: The Story of Two Trampolines

Gospel-Driven Anglicanism By the Revd Dr Mark Pickles The Story of the Two Trampolines:  A passage that is frequently referred to during times of great revival is Isaiah 64:1-3:  “Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your...

Ten Thousand Bibles for London’s Children

TBS Auxiliary Meets Ten Thousand Bibles For London’s Children The Greater London Auxiliary of the Trinitarian Bible Society was delighted to report at its Annual Meeting held on 15 November that over 10,000 Bibles have been distributed to London schools since the...

Good News for Egypt’s Christians

Barnabas Fund Reports Good News for Egypt’s Christians The government of Egypt licensed 125 churches and church-affiliated buildings on 14 November. It is the 24th batch of approvals made since the government committee overseeing the licensing process started work in...

Church Society’s Response to MP Ben Bradshaw

Church Society’s Response to MP Ben Bradshaw In the aftermath of Desmond Tutu’s daughter being refused permission to preside at a funeral in a Church of England parish, Labour MP Ben Bradshaw told The Guardian that the “C of E must move swiftly to welcome lesbian...

Collins: Who’s Your Righteousness?

Who’s Your Righteousness? By the Revd Canon Chuck Collins Who’s your righteousness? "The Lord our Righteousness" was the sermon preached March 20, 1757 at St. Mary's Church in Oxford. It offended nearly everyone that day and William Romaine was invited to never preach...

Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Act of 1963

Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Act of 1963 Persons Against Whom Proceedings May be Instituted. Proceedings under this Measure may be instituted against an archbishop, any diocesan bishop or any suffragan bishop commissioned by a diocesan bishop or any other bishop or a...

Editorial: Joy to the World Cup

Editorial Joy to the World Cup The result of the 2022 FIFA World Cup is already in. And it appears the Church of England has lost. The latest advice from the Church of England’s Support Hub is for parishes to consider the timing of Christmas Carol Services to avoid...

Symes to Step Down from Anglican Mainstream Leadership

Symes to Step Down from Anglican Mainstream Leadership By Chris Sugden Andrew Symes is to stand down as Executive Secretary of Anglican Mainstream on January 1, 2023, after nearly ten years in post. Rev Symes, 56, who had earlier served with Crosslinks in South...

Retired Bishop Given Life Suspension

Retired Bishop Given Life Suspension By George Conger The former Bishop of Ramsbury has been suspended for life from the ordained ministry after he admitted to having sexually abused two women. The Daily Mail reported the Rt Rev. Peter Hullah had been the subject of...

Pilgrim’s Process

Pilgrim’s Process

Believers are pilgrims journeying to heaven. The image of a believer navigating through this world on the way to the Celestial City was immortalised in the famous English allegory – Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress.’ First published in 1678 the book remains readable and evocative. 

During last year’s lockdown my church hosted an online reading group to study Pilgrim’s Progress. Discussing its Biblical imagery, I was struck afresh how fundamental to healthy Christian experience, is the sense of being a pilgrim. We are on a journey towards heaven, but too easily forget and put down roots in this world. We prefer the comfortable armchair to the challenging cross. Content in our little part of the world, we lose the feeling of journeying towards our real home — heaven. 

This regular column recognises that to ‘progress’ as pilgrims, we must ‘process.’ That is, we must think about the world around us and navigate its terrain with wisdom. Pilgrims process the times. We do so together, in the power of the Spirit, with renewed minds, regenerate hearts, and with scripture as our map. As pilgrims who process the world facing us today, we need to have our emotions and attitudes honed into what God would have us experience. I have found time in the Psalms invaluable for this. Many of us regularly read through the Psalms using the Book of Common Prayer schedule – it races through all 150 Psalms in one month. It requires reading several each morning and evening. If you want to give your emotions an intense workout to develop the outlook necessary for progress as a pilgrim – try the BCP Psalter for a month. Reading through the Psalms in an intensive manner over one month, transposes daily life to a different plane. We see through the eyes of Christ. Love for God is fanned into flame. Suffering, depression and injustice are acknowledged. Sin is mourned. Singing with God’s people is treasured. God is praised as worthy of honour.

The practice of singing Psalms in church services is thankfully coming back into wider practice. Not only Cranmer, but Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, and Calvin would be bemused at how any church could expect to maintain a heavenward pilgrimage without regular shared inhabiting of Psalms. There are many musical styles and tools that can be used. Why not try some? Search any online music store and you will find Psalms set to everything from Gregorian Chant to Country and Western. We pilgrims have much to process if we are to progress – the times are rapidly shifting and demand evaluation. Let the Psalms give you heart for the journey.

Revd Dr. Peter Sanlon is rector of Emmanuel Anglican Church, Tunbridge Wells: www.emmanuelanglican.uk

Previous

Next