Tuesday, 30 August 2011


Today we are asked to remember John Bunyan, preacher, pastor, writer and author of Pilgrim’s Progress. I remember reading Pilgrim’s Progress as a teenager and then again when studying for a paper on literature and theology as part of my degree. A few years later I found myself lecturing on Bunyan and the book at North Thames Ministerial Training Course and was surprised by how few of the ordinands had read Pilgrim’s Progress or appreciated it. One of the main concerns seemed to be Bunyan’s allegorical approach, yet, I treasure that as part of the beauty and power of the book. I also picked up that many of the students were not that keen on Bunyan’s Puritan faith, though I suspect few had taken the time to understand what Puritanism was about. I wonder how many of us would be prepared to go to prison for preaching the Gospel as Bunyan did?
He who would valiant be ’gainst all disaster,
Let him in constancy follow the Master.
There’s no discouragement shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent to be a pilgrim.
Who so beset him round with dismal stories
Do but themselves confound - his strength the more is.
No foes shall stay his might; though he with giants fight,
He will make good his right to be a pilgrim.
Since, Lord, Thou dost defend us with Thy Spirit,
We know we at the end, shall life inherit.
Then fancies flee away! I’ll fear not what men say,
I’ll labor night and day to be a pilgrim.
In celebration of Bunyan and Pilgrim’s progress, here’s After the Fire’s excellent Pilgrim from the album Signs of Change.

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