The Bible as Pilgrimage

By Laura MacNewman

A year or so ago, I noticed a workshop at Exeter Cathedral about labyrinths and how they help us to prayerfully reflect upon our inner landscape by bringing us to the center, the heart, and then “coming home,” to the place where we started. The subtitle stayed with me: “One Path, Many Journeys” (Canon Karen Curnock, 2021, see also Canon Chris Palmer, 2020).

A labyrinth is a way of prayer and a form of pilgrimage, in which the worshipper can devote their attention to seeking and praising God. By bringing the traveller to the heart and returning to their starting place, the labyrinth reminds me that life can be lived either with a feeling of exile from heaven or by seeking to keep a devout mind once the soul knows that its longing is for heaven, for God (Rom 10:8; Ps 84:1-2; Ps 119:54).

Here at Christ Church Cranbrook, we are blessed to be offered the opportunity to journey through the Bible in a year using the book, The Path. Like a pilgrimage, The Path will help us also to, “walk in the footsteps of faithful men and women who have done their best to follow God’s call” (Forward Movement, 2016).

The Path is a guidebook published by ‘Forward Movement’ to help us make our way through the Bible by reflecting upon key condensed excerpts in a small group. It helps us to understand the Bible as one book comprised of many books: books of Hebrew Law, history, poetry and wisdom, prophecy, testimony, and epistles (see Coogan, 2007).

Each week we will pray an opening collect, review the story so far (to help understand the interconnected story of the Bible), encounter the story for the current week reflecting upon it by retelling it, and engage the story by exploring the connections between the stories and observing the, “vast, sweeping epic of God’s extraordinary love for ordinary people.” (Forward Movement, 2016).

As we come together in this group, we will be beginning a new journey, a journey through the Bible. We are united with each other in fellowship seeking the one path; yet our personal journeys to this new beginning are all different. The soul is a pilgrim on its journey home. Christ Jesus is the way (Jn 14:6) and the sustenance on the journey (Jn 6:35), and the Bible helps us to know Him that we might have a lamp for our feet and a light on our path (Ps 119:105). He
opens the gate of heaven to us below, giving us aid and strength until we see our true native land (St. Thomas Aquinas, O Salutaris Hostia).

We hope that you will join us and, as we connect the little stories with the epic story of the Bible, we pray you will come closer to God through his word. For more information or to sign up, click here – class begins next week!”


Coogan, Michael D. (Ed.). (2007). The New Oxford Annotated Bible. Oxford University Press.

Curnock, Canon Karen. Labyrinth Workshops: One Path, Many Journeys with Canon Karen

Curnock. (May 22, 2021).

Palmer, Canon Chris. The Labyrinth. (May 22, 2020) https://www.exeter-cathedral.org.uk/news-

Wilson Shobe, Melody and Creech, David. (2016). The Path—A Journey Through the Bible.
Forward Movement.

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