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Region: England, Wales and Northern Ireland

RE:QUEST

A space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith

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Pilgrimage: Iona

What is so special about Iona?

 

Over the centuries the island of Iona in Scotland has been seen as a place of pilgrimage. It is a place where saints have lived and where prayers have been answered. Until very recently, the physical journey to Iona was a hard one - rough paths, barren moorland, small boats, and uncertain tides. Although buses and ferries make it easier for today's pilgrims, the awareness of travelling is still there. No one visits Iona without a sense of being on a journey.

The Christian life itself has often been likened to a pilgrimage or journey. On journeys, you can be alone or with others. On journeys you might stop on route to eat or sleep; you might look at maps, think about directions, make plans, wear clothes according to the climate…. meet new people, learn about different cultures. Journeys can be scary, adventuresome, exciting or fun.

On a Christian journey, Christians are at times alone or with others, they stop at times to revive their spiritual hunger through spending time in prayer or through reading the Bible or another spiritual text; they spend time thinking about the direction of their lives, and might re-think what they want to do and how they plan to do it.

Their journey also involves learning - about themselves, about others, or from their experiences. Like a physical journey, the Christian journey can be scary or full of adventure and unknown. Every Tuesday there is a pilgrimage walk around the island that stops at places of historical and religious significance. It is a pilgrimage for all ages, travelling together, sharing food, jokes, stories, songs, prayers and silence - a chance to help each other over stiles, up and down hills, and out of bogs.

Each pilgrimage is different because the people who share in it are different.