I was surprised when I got on the plane for Memphis Saturday morning. It was a pretty big plane, an Airbus 319, and completely full. I didn’t know why until I read the airline magazine on my second flight to Indianapolis – a half-full little DC-9: Saturday was the birthday of Elvis.
Undoubtedly, a pretty good percentage of my fellow passengers on that first flight were making their first or second or annual pilgrimmage to Graceland.
A pilgrimmage is an interesting thing. All adherents to Islam are expected to make one to Mecca at least once in their lives. Many of my acquaintances have longed to make one to Israel, and a few have even braved the dangers to do so.
I had to ask myself: Would I?
It’s not a high priority on my list of future travel destinations. In fact I’d rather see Vancouver, Portmeirion or even Charleston for the first time. Or San Francisco again.
But, more important, would I make a pilgrimmage to the places Jesus would have me go?
To the flood-ravaged, the famished, those ill from AIDs, the drug ghetto-trapped, the poverty-stricken, the war-decimated, the hopeless, the imprisoned, the unsought and untouchable and unloved?
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” -Matthew 25:44-46
I obviously need to change my travel plans.
And book them early.