Baptist Routes Pilgrimage – Day 6 – Travel to Philadelphia

(With a busy Sunday schedule, we weren’t able to post this at our usual time. Welcome to Philadelphia!)

Once again, we played Tetris with our bags and boxes leaving no square inch in the car unpacked. We left the Boston area around 9 and arrived in Philadelphia around 5. One might think that the long drives on this trip would be a time to rest, but the way we’ve budgeted our time, the drives are a time to work.

We double check our arrival time with the pastor in the next city. We plan the videos and photos we will need to take. We edit videos and photos that we’ve taken previously. On this particular drive, we put together the worship guide for Sunday’s worship service.

By far the most meaningful and most important work that we have done in transit from city to city has been the work of sermon writing. Typically, the two of us only get brief moments to collaborate on the themes of our two homilies on any given week. We rarely get to truly develop them together. Our rhythm for this time of Covid has been to research and write independently then compare the sermons to make sure they complement each other.

During this trip, however, we have been afforded the opportunity of hours and hours (and hours and hours) with each other in the car. It has given us the ability to truly form our sermons together. We talk about the cities and read through the church’s history. We talk about similarities with our own congregation. We talk about what our congregation could learn from this particular church.

The homilies that we are preaching in each of these churches are twofold: one of us preaches on the lectionary text selected for that day and the other on the history of the church in which we find ourselves.

This pilgrimage has been an incredible experience, but it has also been a lot of work. Last night after driving all day, we sat down to write sermons that we dreamed up in the car. That was the 6th sermon we’ve written in 7 days.

One of the learnings that we will take home, however, will be the need to shape our sermons together. We have the structure for this already in place with Talk and Toast, but we can be more intentional about it from Wednesday onward week to week.