Greetings from Pastor Lee Barstow
Dear LCC Community,,
As my wife Cynthia and I finish preparations to walk the Way of St. James, I am moved to share with you some thoughts about walking as a spiritual practice. Cynthia and I walked 500 miles last summer on the Way of St. James (Camino Santiago), and we will walk 180 miles during June this summer on the “Portuguese Route” from Porto, Portugal, to the cathedral of Santiago in Spain.
As I have shared before, the experience last summer was incredibly rewarding, thanks essentially to the power of meditation, which walking can inspire no matter for how long.
The writer Rebecca Solnit says,“ We walk because three miles an hour is about the speed of thought, and maybe the speed of our souls.”Says Mark Buchanan, author of the bookGod Walk,where I found thatquote,“I walk because three miles an hour seems to be the pace God keeps. It’s God speed.”It’s no accident that many of our greatest thinkersfound inspiration while walking, including Thoreau, Einstein, VirginiaWoolf, Nietzsche, Kant.
Buchanan makes the point that every great spiritual tradition encourages its own form of physical exercise: “Hinduism has yoga. Taoism has Tai Chi. Shintoism has Karate. Buddhism has Kung Fu.” And Christianity? We have walking. Just consider the number of times walking is invoked in the Bible. It starts with God walking in the cool of the morning in the Garden of Eden. Micah tells us that one of just three requirements in life is to “walk humbly with your God. ”St. Paul tells the Ephesians to “walk in the way of love .”The entire Jesus story happens as he and his disciples walk from Galilee to Jerusalem. And the references go on and on.
Rev. Thomas Hawkins—in his book called Every Step a Prayer—writes a lot about the power of walking as a Christian practice, including, “When we take to our feet in worship, we rehearse together how God desires us to live as God’s pilgrim people in the world. ”I highly recommend Thomas book.
What about when we are unable to walk? In my experience, that’swhen we need to dig even deeper for the experience of prayer andmeditation. These are always available. Even though we may not be ableto pass through a beautiful landscape, we can study a flower, or feel thelove we felt the last time we had a good hug, or simply focus on ourbreathing.Walking is a gift, and yet no matter our activity in any moment, divinelife flows through us and through everything. May we open to it.
Peace and blessings,