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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Thursday, June 28, 2007
    On our trolleys
    And continuing on from yesterday, the latest Coracle (available for download here) not only features shopping trolleys and a version of my shopping trolley prayer on its cover, but also inside an article penned by Jonathan and me introducing the thinking behind our theme for our Iona week this summer, titled God and the City:
    We hope consciously to bring our city lives with us to Iona. So we and our group of mostly first-time Iona guests will encourage each other to engage with the questions underlying our visit. Some will be treating this as a pilgrimage, and we will try to tease out what that means for them. Is it a physical pilgrimage: a journey to a 'holy place' where the journey is incidental – it is the arriving which matters; or is it more an allegorical pilgrimage – an 'internal' journey on the ongoing search for the connections and meanings behind things? These questions may seem tangential to the search for God in the city, but they are related. For on Iona we want to spend time thinking about what makes a place 'holy' and whether there is any sense in which those places from which we came might also be described that way. We want to consider whether the urban can be a site for pilgrimage, to ask whether it is possible to discover 'heaven in the ordinary.' If every place is potentially a holy place, potentially a place of pilgrimage, then the boundary between the physical and the allegorical begins to blur – and our week on Iona ceases to be an end in itself but a resource to help us on our way back home.