When I saw this quote, I laughed. It was so perfect. It fit with everything we had learned while being in Philadelphia. If I was a t-shirt wearing person I would have purchased the t-shirt. The funny thing was when our group met for lunch that afternoon, several others mentioned seeing it and thinking the same thing!
A pilgrimage is a journey of spiritual significance. Many have asked me how the Philadelphia pilgrimage went, why we chose Philadelphia, what did we learn. The answers to these questions are often too long for the short tidbit people want but can be summed up in the Thomas Jefferson quote.
As a group we began to consider what rebellion would look like now. After our visit to the seminary, we began to consider what it would mean for us to be disorderly. You see the stories of our ancestors began to challenge us. Challenge us to open our eyes, to see the world in a new light, to wonder about the ways we had become complacent in our community and our world. They were pretty remarkable people, the founders of our country and our church; they faced incredible adversity, they sought ways to practice freedom of all kinds, they were brave and compassionate and committed.
Each day presented to us a new way to consider what it means to be people of God. We were challenged to step out of ourselves as we experienced something new—from concepts to people, from unfamiliar place to unfamiliar food. Culture and diversity were encountered each day and in the midst of it we saw God. Each day we saw in each other the face of Christ as we explored and learned and leaned on each other. And at the end of each day as we gathered together to process it all we discovered ways God was challenging us and a group of people who would walk with us as we figured out how to meet that challenge.
A little rebellion now and then is a good thing said Thomas Jefferson, and I think the greatest rebellion of all is to get on a plane with a group of people you don’t really know and come home with spiritual companions. The Philadelphia Pilgrimage’s biggest spiritual significance for this group of 18 followers of Christ was to discover in each other the rebellious and the friend. We all have wonderful stories to tell, but that would be the biggest of all: we found Christ in the people of Philadelphia and in each other and are going to start a rebellion. Want to join us?