Pilgrim’s Progress – Devotional

When we returned to in-person worship after being shut down for the pandemic, I experienced a spiritual crisis. Church didn’t feel like it used to. I was disappointed in myself and, quite frankly, with God.

“Let us go and ascend the mountain of the Holy One of Sinai, to the home of the God of Jacob [of the line of Rebekah]; that God may teach us God’s ways and that we may walk in God’s paths.” – Isaiah 2:3 (Year A)

Then I remembered: We get ourselves into trouble when we expect God to show up in the same way all the time. San Juan de la Cruz is emphatic about this; he describes that thinking as young faith, immature. And I fall victim to that immaturity all the time.

A faith that matures is a pilgrimage.

We come to church to join each other in that journey, to look to the left or the right and see another pilgrim in our midst. Every pilgrim has a gift to share. Every pilgrim is a treasure.

We want the mountaintop experience because we want to feel the holiness. We want to encounter God reliably, in a way that’s guaranteed. Baby faith tries to tell God what to do, when and how to show up. But the prophet wants to guide us differently.

We don’t need to climb a specific mountain to encounter God. In fact, quite the opposite. Instead, God casts out from the mountaintop. Our pilgrimage is to receive that teaching just as God sends it.


Thy will be done, O God. Show me that will and let me walk in your ways. Amen.

About the Author

Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City.