The Pilgrimage of Life
It is always a pleasure to show our schools around either church. Near the Catsfield children’s corner we usually stop to have a good look at the window showing St Christopher, the patron saint of travellers. The traditional story tells of how Christopher wanted to serve the mightiest of master and having been disappointed by an earthly king and satan he decided to give the kingship of Jesus Christ a go. He was advised to carry travellers across a difficult river, since that act of service would please Jesus Christ, who might then appear to Him. One night Christopher was carrying a child across when he became so heavy that he could hardly move. ‘No wonder!’ said the child. ‘You have been carrying the whole world. I am Jesus Christ, the king you seek.’
I rather like our Catsfield window’s illustration of the story with the huge fish swimming round Christopher’s leg and the Christ child perched on his shoulder. More importantly, however, it reminds us that all of us should carry the presence and teaching of Jesus Christ wherever we go. The name Christopher actually means ‘one who carries Christ’.
There are many challenges facing Christians in this country at the moment and it is of ten difficult to know what the correct response should be. It seems vital to me that any decision is based on following the wishes of Jesus Christ and carrying Him with us. Too often one suspects (although Christ tells us not to judge!) that some of our national meetings begin with acts of prayer and worship and then ignore the wishes of Jesus Christ the moment the religious bit is over.
Jesus gives us the two big principles of loving God and loving our neighbour as ourselves. We are also given many other explicit commands by Jesus, such as meeting for Holy Communion or working for His church to be one. We need to make sure that all our actions are guided these wishes.
John Bunyan, who lived in the seventeenth century wrote the work Pilgrim’s Progress which charts the journey of a Christian life through this world with all its challenges and encouragements. We often sing a hymn based on it, which stresses how all that we do must be based on following the wishes of Jesus Christ.
He who would valiant be
‘Gainst all disaster,
Let him in constancy
Follow the Master.
There’s no discouragement
Shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent
To be a pilgrim.
Posted By: valerie