By the way, this was partly my way of cocking a snook at Joel Salatin's sneers at pilgrimage in his latest book. (I used to be a huge fan of Joel's but I'm afraid he has rubbed me up the wrong way this time.)
But what I will do is undermine my own response there by sharing a quote from a well-known Christian scholar who does not, in other ways, share Joel's rather narrow sectarian views. This is Father Thomas Hopko, a late Orthodox priest of the OCA. So Fr. Hopko says:
http://www.ancientfaith.com/specials...istian_worshipGregory of Nyssa has one of the most fantastic harangues against pilgrimages you ever want to read. He said for Christians there’s no holy place that’s on this earth.
Well … yeah, he has a point … but on the other hand, OK, so that's one Eastern Orthodox Christian view. But with the Orthodox there is never one monolithic view, as often appears from the outside, and as some Orthodox speakers seem to imply. In 19th century Russia just one monastery used to have to find food to cater to 200,000 pilgrims a year - that's like a large city on the move!
And in the West pilgrimage was an important form of devotion. Nor was it merely some kind of religious tourism. People used to be sent on pilgrimage by their confessors as a form of penance. In Ireland to this day some 15,000 to 20,000 people a year climb the hill of Croagh Patrick, many of them barefoot. That's no stroll in the park.
Anyway, Fr. Hopko is out of tune with the Joel religious ethos in other ways. He says:
Yes, indeed. Joel seems to fail to understand this. Not "done away with" but "fulfilled". And see, for example, Luke 24:44 (or any number of other passages one could cite.) And has Joel never noticed who is present (besides the named disciples) at the Transfiguration and reflected on what those figures represent?It’s [the liturgy] all biblical, and for those who are supposedly biblical, this is crucially important to understand Christian liturgy. You can’t understand it without it, because all this was fulfilled. It [the Law and the Prophets] wasn’t done away with; it was fulfilled.
Joel, also, gratingly, seems to imply that "grace" is not present in the Old Testament. Frankly I find this insulting to the Jews. The closest concept to grace in the Jewish scriptures in hesed and it's all over the Jewish scriptures. This word is translated as lovingkindness in the 1611 Bible (following Coverdale, I believe), and there are many, many occurrences of it. In The RSV it sometimes appears as "steadfast love" as in Hosea:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage...19&version=RSVAnd I will betroth you to me for ever; I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy.
I was so disappointed that, once he was off his own subject of farming, Joel came across as so narrow and limited. He says in the new book that he's a graduate of Jim Jones University. But for reflection on nature, man, the cosmos, science, etc. I would recommend Philip Sherrard's book. Sherrard had a degree from Cambridge.