Sermon quotes on pilgrimage

An American Pilgrim

Now my body seemed to walk itself, the road walking my body.

Recalling His Journey To Santiago de Compostela

Augustine of Hippo

In all trouble you should seek God. You should not set Him over against your troubles, but within them. God can only relieve your troubles if you in your anxiety cling to Him. Trouble should not really be thought of as this thing or that in particular, for our whole life on earth involves trouble; and through the troubles of our earthly pilgrimage we find God.

John Baillie

I am sure that the bit of the road that most requires to be illuminated is the point where it forks.

Invitation to Pilgrimage, Baker Books.

Hillaire Belloc

[The road] was the most imperative and first of our necesseties. It is older than buildings and than wells.

The Old Road

David Brooks

A pilgrimage is a journey undertaken in response to a story.

The Second Mountain, Random House Publishing Group, 2019, p.213.

Frederick Buechner

Religion points to that area of human experience where in one way or another man comes upon mystery as a summons to pilgrimage.

Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC, Harper San Francisco, 1973.

Helen Keller

The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.


Helen Keller

To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.


John Bunyan

“a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray” 

Paul Chandler

You’re not a pilgrim if you stay where you are.

Paul Chandler

Pilgrimage happens when you’re not moving. You learn when you’re unlearning. Revelation comes in gulps that leave you gasping, but sometimes it seems to come in the slow accumulation of small insights that you hardly know have happened, in chance encounters and odd surprises, in little glimpses of what you did not go to see and did not know was there.

Geoffrey Chaucer

“For in their hearts doth Nature stir them so Then people long on pilgrimage to go And palmers to be seeking foreign strands To distant shrines renowned in sundry lands.”

The Canterbury Tales

Phil Cousineau

Pilgrimage is a powerful metaphor for any journey with the purpose of finding something that matters deeply to the traveler.

The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker’s Guide to Making Travel Sacred, Conari Press, p.25.


A pilgrim is anyone who is out of his own. country.

La Vita Nuova

Nelson DeMille

We’re all pilgrims on the same journey, but some pilgrims have better road maps.

William Faulkner

“They are not monuments, but footprints. A monument only says ‘At least I got this far,’ while a footprint says, ‘This is where I was when I moved again.”

Paul Goodman

On the highroad to death

Trudging, not eager to get

To that city, yet the way is

still too long for my patience

-teach me a travel song,

Master, to march along

As we boys used to shout

When I was a young scout.          

Little Prayers and Finite Experience, Harper & Row, 1972, p.16

Abraham Joshua Heschel

Faith is not the clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the heart.

Phileena Heuertz

Whether we are walking to a holy site or being mindful of our spiritual life, in both cases we can willfully embark on the journey or not. The choice is ours: either we decide to journey in hope of growth and change or we resign to life as it is.

Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life (Downers Grove, IL; InterVarsity Press, 2010), 20.

John of the Cross

If you wish to be sure of the road you are traveling, close your eyes and walk in the dark.

C.S. Lewis

All joy, as distinct from mere pleasure, still more amusement, emphasises our pilgrim status; always reminds, beckons, awakens desire. Out best havings are wantings.

Letter dated November 5,1959.

Lennart Meri

If geography is prose, maps are iconography

Thomas Merton

The geographical pilgrimage is the symbolic acting out of an inner journey. The inner journey is the interpolation of the meanings and signs of the outer journey. One can have one without the other. It is better to have both.

Mystics and Zen Masters

Thomas Merton

I believe my vocation is essentially that of a pilgrim and an exile in life, that I have no proper place in the world, but that for that reason I am in some sense to be the friend and brother of people everywhere, especially those who are exiles and pilgrims like myself. . . My life is in many ways simple, but it is also a mystery which I do not attempt to really understand, as though 1 were led by the hand in the night where I see nothing, but can fully depend on the Love and Protection of Him who guides me.

Cold War Letters

Lennart Meri

If geography is prose, maps are iconography

Wayne Muller

To pray is no small thing. It is nothing less than a sacred pilgrimage into the heart of the whole world.

Wayne Muller

What we choose to love is very important for what we love leads our eyes, ears, and hearts on a pilgrimage that shapes the texture of our lives.

How Then, Shall We Live?: Four Simple Questions That Reveal the Beauty and Meaning of Our Lives, Bantam, 2013, p.90.

Eugene Peterson

Pilgrim (parepidēmos) tells us we are people who spend our lives going someplace, going to God, and whose path for getting there is the way, Jesus Christ.

Taken from A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society by  Eugene Peterson Copyright (c) 1980, 2000 by Eugene Peterson. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

Victor Turner & Edith Turner

Pilgrimages are probably of ancient origin and can, indeed, be found among peoples classed by some anthropologists as “tribal,” peoples such as the Huichol, the Lunda, and the Shona. But pilgrimage as an institutional form does not attain real prominence until the emergence of the major historical religions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture: Anthropological Perspectives, Columbia University Press, 1978.

Michelle Van Loon

A pilgrim is formed by the question “Do I trust Him?”

Born to Wander, Moody Publishers, 2018, p. 168.

Robert E. Webber

I find when most people are honest about their spiritual pilgrimage, they admit to the difficulty of maintaining the habit of a spiritual discipline. What attracks me most about the Anglican spiritual tradition is that it provides purposeful spiritual direction in the life of Christ.

Lester Ruth, Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail: Why Evangelicals Are Attracted to the Liturgical Church, Church Publishing, Inc., 2013, p.51.

William Williams

Guide me ever, great Redeemer,

pilgrim through this barren land.

I am weak, but you are mighty;

hold me with your pow’rful hand.

Bread of heaven, bread of heaven,

feed me now and evermore.

feed me now and evermore.

Guide Me Ever, Great Redeemer, Stanza 1

N.T. Wright

Christian living means dying with Christ and rising again. That, as we saw, is part of the meaning of baptism, the starting point of the Christian pilgrimage.

Rupert Brooke

 O Thou,

God of all long desirous roaming,

Our hearts are sick of fruitless homing,

And crying after lost desire.

Hearten us onward! as with fire

Consuming dreams of other bliss.

The best Thou givest, giving this

Sufficient thing — to travel still

Over the plain, beyond the hill,

Unhesitating through the shade,

Amid the silence unafraid,

Till, at some sudden turn, one sees

Against the black and muttering trees

Thine altar, wonderfully white,

Among the Forests of the Night.

The Song of the Pilgrims, 1907.

Martin Luther

If I rest, I rust.

Charles Spurgeon

By perseverance the snail reached the ark.

John Bunyan

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. 


When in some future time I shall sit in a madly crowded assembly

With music and dancing around me, and the wish arises to retire 

Into the loneliest loneliness, I shall think of Iona.

Wesley Granberg-Michaelson

“It is good once in a while to feel oneself in the hands of God,” Søren Kierkegaard once wrote, “and not always eternally slinking around the familiar nooks and corners of a town where one always knows the way out.” That’s the yearning that pushes pilgrims out the door, physically or spiritually, stepping away from home in order to search for the soul’s true home.

Without Oars: Casting Off into a Life of Pilgrimage, Broadleaf Books, 2020.

Wesley Granberg-Michaelson

Religious faith is an embodied journey, not a protected cocoon of beliefs. It’s a pilgrimage.

Without Oars: Casting Off into a Life of Pilgrimage, Broadleaf Books, 2020.

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