Ten days ago, 24 pilgrims began a journey knowing their mission to raise their voices to God in prayerful song, but not knowing how it would touch them in return. Yesterday, on our final day at Lincoln Cathedral, the magnitude of our collective and individual experiences came to its culmination through a Choral Eucharist and our final Evensong. We were elated, emotional, and yes, exhausted – the good exhaustion you feel when you have accomplished something you are proud of.
We have all been impacted in different ways by the experience—strengthened as musicians, spiritually deepened, touched by the warmth of strangers, and awed by the magnitude of what we just accomplished in such an amazing and historical place.
We have walked the same soil as Romans, Normans, Danes, and Saxons have before us. We have touched the same stone walls and walked on the same stone floors that the peasants of the Middle Ages did. We’ve sat in the seats of the nobility, and in some case royalty. We have worshipped in a space where countless millions have worshipped before us, quite literally a place of martyrs and saints. We have raised our voices in praise to God, echoing with those of others that came before us these past centuries. Now we have left our mark like all those pilgrims before us. This realization has had a deep impact on us all.
I asked my fellow pilgrims how this journey has impacted them. Here are some of those thoughts:
I was overwhelmed by the connection to history, left with wonder and awe to offer praise in a manner and precise location where others have for centuries.
Through this experience I have learned to accept what God has placed in your path with grace. Listening to the choir sing while I could not, brought heaven to earth—a precious gift.
The great cloud of witness has for centuries sacrificed, paved. and preserved the way for us to sing freely in praise to God. We have now joined that cloud by virtue of our song, prayers, and a few tears.
A deepened realization of connection from the kindness we were shown, the welcoming acceptance we received, the wit of locals, and the banding together in times of need we experienced. Despite our human frailties and quirks of personality, I witnessed something divine—the respect and love we all shared in this beautiful endeavor.
To hear the choir sing every day that “there is none other that fighteth for us, than you, O God” and to be in a place that has been prayed in daily for over 1,000 years is quite a marvel. The cathedral, its history, the words of the liturgy and prayer have reoriented me and my heart upwards.
I saw myself at the beginning of the week as a dry and rather brittle plant that had suffered from drought. That surprised me, but I have consciously invited the Holy Spirit to soak into me through the daily Evensong. I see myself now as renewed—rehydrated—and deeply blessed by the music and prayer.
We have all been blessed by this trip in one way or another. We are thankful for the opportunity and all of you that supported us to make this pilgrimage possible.