Bishop's Comment: Walking
4 October 2017 by Bishop David Urquhart

Bishop's Comment: Walking

For most of history humans have travelled on foot. Drawing water, herding cattle, ploughing, visiting, fleeing or fighting were all step by step in the open air.

Jesus is recorded as walking everywhere with the exceptions of occasional journeys by sailing boat and once riding on a donkey.

Now we prefer to isolate ourselves in metal boxes on wheels and define our physical movements as exercise regimes, even then cut off from face to face encounters by head phone entertainment.

The tradition of pilgrimage revives our capacity for movement at walking pace in the company of others and awakens our awareness of our ordinary surroundings and the people who inhabit them.

On a Saturday in September, Church Leaders walked from St Chad's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Birmingham to St Chad's Anglican Cathedral in Lichfield, pausing en route to pray for the neighbourhoods and to receive hospitality from local Christians.

Later in the same day I walked between St John's Walmley and St George's Minworth with a group of enthusiastic Christians who were being welcomed as church-planters. This also gave an opportunity to explain to curious passers by the hope that was in us, as a new collaborative ministry was being inaugurated across the two parishes.

On our ordinary routine, those who walk to and from bus stops or railway stations (or even from the parked car) also have the chance to take in what is happening around us, to pray about who and what we see.

Can we also break through the social conventions of distance and inhibition and start conversations that animate a new interest in our fellow humans and appreciation of God's creation?

In this way on our daily pilgrimage we too can be part of God's Mission to draw all people to a life saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

Rt Revd David Urquhart
Bishop of Birmingham