“All began with a step of trust...” - John de Gruchy

Reflections on the pilgrimage of trust 2019 in Cape Town.

A pilgrimage is an experiment in building, experiencing and learning to live life in trust. From the moment we leave home, boarding the bus, catching the train or plane, for Cape Town we will find ourselves moving across boundaries, from the familiar to the unfamiliar, from home to the hospitality of strangers, from the security of our peer group to the insecurity of being with others who are different. Learning to trust ourselves, to trust others, and to enable others to trust us, makes the journey possible. It also makes it exciting, transformative, empowering and joyful.

Travelling in trust makes us open to the surprise of the unexpected; it is a journey in which we discover things about ourselves we had not previously known, cross frontiers that we previously feared; meet people who we have never met before or thought it possible for us to get to know as friends. When we are open to trust others, prepared to accept their hospitality, and to start a conversation with them, friendships start and step by step along the way they deepen. Such friendships may last a life-time. They straddle age groups, ideologies, nationalities and the many divisions that undermine trusting. They also help us enter conversations that were never possible before when rhetoric and argument dominated. So we learn to be ourselves rather than trying to be someone else. We find our true selves, and therefore begin to grow in a humble self-confidence that makes us comfortable with who we are rather than trying to be what we are not. We can begin to trust others more than before, and become trustworthy in turn in our relationship with them.

Trust is fundamental to becoming and being a follower of Christ. To follow him is a journey both in company with others and alone. On the journey we begin to understand, appreciate and live with others in community; we also discover that we can be alone in silence, reflecting and thinking about what really matters for us, what inspires and motivates us. As we go deeper into ourselves we are journeying deeper into Christ and at the same time deeper into the community of our fellow pilgrims. Life has suddenly taken on a new meaning for us that enables us to return from where we came renewed and ready to make a difference to the world in which we live. But now we know that we are part of a larger community bound together by friendship and solidarity, seeking a new and better world of peace and justice. The miracle is that all began with a step taken in trust, a step into the unknown. Except that we now know we were not alone.

John de Gruchy 30.3.18, Volmoed

Last updated: 29 May 2018