As a child I learnt John Bunyan’s words:
‘There’s no discouragement Shall make him once relent His first avowed intent to be a pilgrim‘
Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ tells of Christian’s journey to the Celestial City. He knows he must leave the City of Destruction:
‘…Whither must I fly? Then said Evangelist, pointing with his finger over a very wide field, Do you see yonder wicket-gate? The man said, No. Then said the other, Do you see yonder shining light? He said, I think I do. Then said Evangelist, Keep that light in your eye, and go directly thereto, so shalt thou see the gate….’
We see NHS workers, care workers and all support workers working with clear purpose and direction.
Both confident and struggling travellers are re-prioritising their lives. Health, family and care for others have greater importance than money and possessions. We have seen our light and are walking towards it. Our journey has direction.
Bunyan’s own pilgrimage took him to court: ‘I was indicted as an upholder and maintainer of unlawful assemblies and conventions, and for not conforming to the national worship of the church of England.’
He was convicted: ‘I refused to conform. So being delivered to the jailer’s hand, I was taken to prison, and there remained now complete for twelve years waiting to see what God would allow these men to do with me.’
There is determination in working selflessly, risking their health through long shifts. There is determination in discovering meaning and purpose in this current season, and traveling though and out the other side.
Hobgoblin nor foul fiend Can daunt his spirit He knows he at the end Shall life inherit. Then fancies flee away He’ll fear not what men say He’ll labour night and day to be a pilgrim.
John Bunyan (1628-1688) wrote
‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ John Bunyan (1678)
‘Grace Abounding’ John Bunyan (1666)
The hymn ‘Who would true valour see’ (Sometimes called ‘He who would valiant be’) by was written as a poem in the second part of Pilgrim’s Progress (1685)
I really enjoy the language from 350 years ago!