March 17th. Turning Point #6.

March 17th. Turning Point #6.


Psalm 30:6-10

As for me, I said in my prosperity,
    “I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O Lord,
    you had established me as a strong mountain;
you hid your face;
    I was dismayed.

To you, O Lord, I cried,
    and to the Lord I made supplication:
“What profit is there in my death,
    if I go down to the Pit?
Will the dust praise you?
    Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me!
    O Lord, be my helper!”

“People on Pilgrimage” by Rev. Sara Wilhelm Garbers

Last Sunday, Rev. Sara preached on Psalm 30, and invited us to consider what it means that God is present with us both in  the valleys 

and on the mountain vistas. She invited us to consider ourselves as people on pilgrimage, and together with Colonial member and artist Janet Hagberg, we were invited into reflection spaces about the “Turning Points” in our lives when God showed up. Take some time to listen to the sermon, engage with Janet’s art piece “Pilgrim Coat”, and then utilize these questions carefully curated by Tracy Mooty to explore your own Pilgrim Coat and the pilgrimage of life and faith you have been on.

A Bit about “The Pilgrim Coat”

Most religions of the world encourage pilgrimages; intentional trips to sacred sites like the Holy Land, Jerusalem, Paul’s missionary voyages, Mecca, shrines, monasteries, temples, sacred rivers, roads, ceremonial or healing sites. The Japanese have a religious tradition of traveling from one temple to another over difficult mountainous terrain. The pilgrims wear short cloth coats called Pilgrim Coats, with a personal theme inscribed on them. Each temple is a stopping point where they receive an imprint of that temple’s seal or stamp on their coat.

Textile artist, Janet Hagberg, reflected on this Japanese tradition and decided to apply it to her own faith tradition by making a personal Pilgrim Coat, representing her long and meandering journey towards God and spiritual wholeness.

She adapted a coat design from Carolyn Myss and constructed a wall hanging depicting her theme “O Love that will not let me go.” Then she chose her equivalent of temple stamps by considering multiple turning points in her life and printing them discretely on the hem of her coat. Once she finished the design she asked friends to help her hand quilt the wall hanging. While they sewed they shared a turning point in their own lives. These stories became additional holy moments of the Pilgrim Coat process. Now you are invited to take your own Pilgrim Coat journey.


By: Tracy Mooty

~What is it like for you to think of your life as a sacred journey or pilgrimage? What do you imagine as you ponder this?

~How do you envision the symbolic pilgrim coat you’ve worn throughout your life? How does it reflect the many turning point stories and messages that have served to guide and inspire you?

~What is one turning point story you’d like to explore this morning?

~How might you describe this turning point experience with words in a brief paragraph? What title best summarizes what you learned? What were the circumstances from which this wisdom emerged?

~How might you capture this turning point experience with images and symbols in a drawing? What lines, shapes, colors, and textures best express all you learned?

~What changed in you or for you as a result of this turning point experience?

~How did God meet you in this experience? Where did you sense God’s presence, provision, power?


May our gracious God give you eyes to see

the course of your life as sacred;

to know in the depths of your being

that the many sunlit paths

and even the shadowy detours have

mattered greatly as they served to

form the very essence of who you are.

May you take heart as you invite

each journey marker

to take shape in your memory;

each learning, wounding, softening,

healing, breaking, strengthening~

claim them as precious and holy,

as the very fabric of your pilgrim coat.


May this coat, your coat,

woven together by the threads of

your God-graced, love-filled story

stir you to thank and praise the One who

through it all

warms, protects, sustains and

leads you home.


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