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Dr Rowan Williams explores the idea of pilgrimage - not so much as a physical journey, but as a preparation for the final passing to the other side after death.

Dr Rowan Williams, the Master of Magdalene College Cambridge, sets out to discover the true meaning and purpose of pilgrimage. He reveals that it's not so much a physical journey, but more of an internal search which realises the destination was not so far from where we started.

Rowan explains, "Pilgrimage prepares us for death simply by reminding us that we are not, to quote one of Iris Murdoch's novels, "that buzzing, blooming confusion" we carry around with us, the anxious, ambitious, defensive, greedy self we have constructed, which panics at the idea of loss or helplessness. We are held in a patient and generous truth, new every moment. We can dismiss the worrying over whether we deserve love or peace or homecoming. We are already there."

In the company of John Bunyan's Christian, we travel through Jerusalem and Santiago accompanied by a 14th Century English writer from Nottinghamshire, Walter Hilton, and the insights of TS Eliot and the Muslim poet Rumi. Music from Maddy Prior, Monteverdi and Wagner assist our journey to its conclusion, with another of Bunyan's heroes, Mr Valiant-for-Truth, as he is summoned to cross the river.

Presenter: Rowan Williams
Producer: Michael Wakelin
A TBI Media production for BBC Radio 4.

30 minutes

Last on

Sun 22 Apr 2018 23:30

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Title:  Pilgrim’s Progress                   

Author: John Bunyan

Publisher: Oxford World’s Classics


Title:  Psalm 122 Verse 1-6 (King James Bible)

Publisher: HarperCollins


Title:  The Ladder of Perfection

Author: Walter Hilton

Publisher: Oxford University Press / Early English Text Society


Title: Oh You Who’ve Gone On Pilgrimage

Author: Jalal al-Din Rumi

Publisher: State University of New York Press


Title:  Caminate no hay Camino

Author: Antonio Machado

Publisher: White Pine Press


Title: Little Gidding

Author: TS Eliot

Publisher:  Faber & Faber