Spiritual Practice


Chad Boring

A pilgrimage is not about the destination; it is about the journey. It is about finding God or God’s love, grace, peace, or joy. It is about finding “the rock that is higher than I.” I found my rock on top of a rock in the city of Glastonbury, England.


Chad on Tor Ftr 063_63It was 4:30 am, my first morning in England, and I was wide awake. My mind returned to the day before when our group had climbed the Tor (Celtic for “hill”). Something was drawing me back to the holy place. Because the doors to the inn were locked tight, I snuck out of my window and ran through the silent streets and up the magnificent hill.

At the top of the Tor, I walked to the edge and stood transfixed, admiring the view. I could not move—not that I wanted to. The grass was green. The English countryside, divided by tiny roads that wound across the hills, was covered with early morning mist. When I finally regained control, I lay down and admired the sky. Never have I seen the sky such a deep, rich blue! I did not know how else to respond to the beauty of my surroundings than to read Genesis 1, which tells of the creation of the earth.

Countryside below Tor2 024_24God’s Glory in Creation

What I saw from the top of the hill was more than a pretty landscape. It was creation, I stood in awe of God’s creation, which stretched for miles in every direction. I have never been so sure that there is a God and that we are part of God’s magnificent creation.

I returned two more times to the top of the hill. I experienced the same joy each time I reached the summit and looked out over God’s glorious creation. Seeing God in the beauty that surrounded me, I was drawn closer to God. I believe God blesses us with experiences that allow us to know God better and, because we are created in God’s image, to know ourselves better; and thus we come closer to fulfilling God’s plan for us.

Tower on Tor2 032_32I felt God’s presence in the long walks through England, in the old churches and the older ruins, in the record-breaking English temperatures—but especially in the beauty of the English countryside. We were looking for God everywhere, and God seemed to be a part of everything we saw.

A Pilgrimage in Our Lives

In Ephesians 1:18 (NIV), Paul says. “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his comparably great power for us who believe.”

As pilgrims on this earth, we can have eyes that are open to noticing God’s presence everywhere we walk. Sometimes we can even experience the joy of being overwhelmed by God’s presence, as I did on the Tor. We can be on pilgrimage every day. And as we search for God, we will discover a calling, a purpose, a life, a rock that is higher than we are.


Chad Tor thru doorway2 064_64DIG DEEPER

REFLECT: What experiences have enabled you to journey closer to God? What did you discover about God? about yourself?

GO DEEPER: Make today a pilgrimage. Ask God to enlighten “the eyes of your heart” so you may see God’s presence in your world. At the end of your day, ask yourself, Where did I see God today?

       “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
                                                 —Psalm 61:2b, NIV

Photos courtesy of Chad Boring and Sally Chambers

Chad Boring was 19 and a high school senior in Franklin, Tennessee, when he went on this ten-day pilgrimage with a group from his church to walk the Pilgrim's Way, the path of pilgrims long ago who journeyed from Glastonbury to Canterbury, England.

—from devozine (March/April 2007). Copyright © 2007 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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