An article in today’s Washington Post considers how religious pilgrimage is one of the growing trends of our age. A trend accomodated by cheaper travel and internet information. The piece focuses upon a pilgrimage to Medjugorje in Bosnia where there was supposedly an appearance by the Virgin Mary.
The trend is problematic for Christians for a number of reasons. Leaving aside reservations about Mariolatry, of which I have many, this article exposed to contemporary trend which are problematic. The first is how one person saw the idea of physical pilgrimage as reflecting spiritual pilgrimage where a person discovers the pilgrimage within. The object of the pilgrimage is not to discover God who is there but to uncover something within ourselves. Contrary to orthodox Christian teaching, and reflecting wider spiritual trends, the answer to our needs is discovered within ourselves rather than looking beyond ourselves to a right relationship with God.
The second problematic area is that the worship of God is being allied to a particular place. This is clearly contrary to Jesus own teaching that God is not to be worshipped in a particular place but ‘in spirit and in truth.’ This idea reflects not only a faulty understanding of true worship but is, we are told in the article, part of wider trend where people want to discover God in new ways. That brings to mind the old adage ‘you worship God in your way, and I’ll worship him in his way.’
The new trend towards pilgrimage reflects the spiritual confusion of our age- the smorgasbord effect as Os Guinness once called it. It calls us to once recognise the need to present the Christian message with biblical clarity and not to be conformed to the spiritual values of our age.
You can read the article at-