Tourists and Pilgrims

What is the difference between a tourist and a pilgrim?

In England, I felt like both a tourist and a pilgrim. In my opinion, a tourist is someone who is just going somewhere for fun. I was mainly in England for a pilgrimage because our church choir was in residence at the Bristol Cathedral. For most of the trip, I would be exploring places that were quite foreign to me.

The pilgrimage began on July 31st, but my family arrived two days early in order to get used to the time difference. Those two days are the days I felt much more like a tourist then a pilgrim. All we did the first day was walk around London and I was able to see some of London’s most well-known attractions. They included Big Ben, the London Eye, and WestMinster. We even got to see a guard, which is what originally made me interested in going to London in the first place.

It wasn’t until the second day I started to get something more  out of the trip. It felt like my family truly got to do something. We spent the morning at Platform 9 3/4 quarters at King’s Cross Station. After that, my family headed over to Paddington Station for some exploring.

In fact, the best part of that trip happened the night of July 30th. My mom took me to the West End to see Les Mis, which was a dream come true. That night I only had one understudy for Valjean. The moment the show began, I knew it was more then excepted. The way the opening notes affected me was how I knew that I was in for a treat. Throughout the entire show, I felt a ton of positive and negative emotions. Les Mis is just that kind of musical that gets better each time you see it. It speaks deeply in your soul and heart and there are no words to describe the emotional impact. The show is so heartbreaking, but so inspirational at the same time. The acting was brilliant from the ensemble to the leads. I even got to meet the actor who played Valjean at the Stage Door and he signed a my playbill and mom took a picture.

As far as being a pilgrim goes, they search for something deeper then a tourist. Because most of the trip was a pilgrimage, I knew that I would be going on a spiritual journey. It made perfect sense that I saw Les Mis the day before the pilgrimage began because both are spiritual journeys.

Moments that stand out in the pilgrimage are Windsor Castle, Berkeley Castle, Chepstow Castle, Tintern Abbey, 10 church services at Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral,  and ultimately Bristol Cathedral, and Stonehenge. Stonehenge was the Mountain-Top moment of the pilgrimage. The moment I got there, I could feel the sacredness of that place due to the atmosphere, which had dark clouds circling around it with lots of wind. Seeing services at Bristol Cathedral were the best because it was our church choir singing there. It wasn’t until the final Evensong that I realized just how transforming the trip was.

It was none of the things that we did that was the best part of being a pilgrim. It was the fellowship among the 72 pilgrims had for each other because it added meaning to each of the things that we did. Even today, I can still feel the same fellowship when I am church.

In your opinion, what is the difference between a pilgrim and a tourist?

Below are links that reflect this post

Spirituality of Bristol Pilgrimage

Mirror Characters of Les Mis

“I Dreamed a Dream”


My Thoughts on Hamilton

I recently read a blog post titled “7 reasons to love Hamilton”. The link to the post is listed below.

I first heard about Hamilton around the same time it gained all the hype. Here are my thoughts about what I heard so far. As far as the basic plot goes, it does sound like a good idea considering it is about one of our founding fathers.

But I feel a bit unsure about the music in Hamilton. The score is hip-hop and rap and the problem with that is I have never been interested in that kind of music. How can a score dealing with hip-hop and rap fit in the musical world? When it comes to musicals, I can be quite protective of the songs. The songs are what usually make me decide whether or not I love the musical. I have heard other musical scores that have a collection of other songs that are different then the typical musical score, but they do feel like they belong in the musical collection. These are scores such as “Les Mis” or “Phantom”, but they do work for musicals.

I am still trying to visualize how hip-hop or rap can fit into the musical universe? I in fact have listened to some of the music. Some of the songs sound like they belong in the musical world while others don’t. So far, only the non hip-hop and rap songs seem to work. I do understand that musicals must have an emotional connection. I heard from others that the hip-hop and rap songs make more since once you see the show live.

While I agree with things that the article said, I still do not know weather or not I should see Hamilton or not. In fact, I can understand the hype around Hamilton. That is because it represents diversity and is about one of our founding fathers. I think it also appeals to a younger audience due to the music. I think Hamilton has proved to be a groundbreaking musical because it is dealing with a type of music that a musical has never experienced.

What your thoughts on the whole hip-hop/ rap concept on Hamilton?


Power of Love

Love is patient

Love is kind

Love never fails

Now these three remains: faith, hope, and love.

But the greatest of these is love

-1 Corinthians 13

These are sections taken from 1 Corinthians 13. Love is the most powerful gift of all. It is what allows us to show humanity. It allows us to accept us for who we are. God gave us the ability to love others. He wants us to love each other and show compassion. We feel the need to love others, but at the same time want to feel loved back. The more love we show, the better the world becomes. Love guides us each and every day no matter what. Even though yes God is the one who guides us, love is the key to heading in the right direction.

The most interesting thing about love is how layered and complex it is. There are different kinds of love, but each has their benefits.


The Bishop Analysis

Possible Spoilers:

The Bishop in Les Mis plays a huge part in the journey of Jean Valjean. Without him, this musical would not be what it is today. When Valjean was released from prison, the Bishop was the only one who showed Valjean any kindness. He welcomed Valjean into his house and provided him with food and a bed. But despite the Bishop’s kindness, Valjean woke up in the middle of the night and stole the Bishop’s silver. Valjean was caught by the police and was sent back to the police. The Bishop covered up for Valjean and told the police that he gave Valjean the silver. Valjean was surprised by that the Bishop lied.

The Bishop was able to forgive Valjean. He was able to teach Valjean the ways of the Lord. The Bishop showed Valjean compassion.  The Bishop told Valjean to use the silver to become an honest man. On top of the silver, the Bishop gave Valjean two candlesticks. These candlesticks would serve as a representation of the Bishop. It would allow Valjean to live by the words of the Bishop. Right after the Bishops’ act of kindness, Valjean realized that he was capable of changing despite how society was treating him. He realized he would not get very far in life if he kept on acting like a man full of hate. Without the Bishop, Valjean would never have been able to change.

In fact, the whole Bishop scene is the first time that spirituality enters the musical. This show may be a tragedy, but it does have an inspirational side to it. Because the Bishop scene enters early on, it gives us a hint that there is going to be spirituality for the show. These scene talks about compassion, forgiveness, and redemption. Some of the show’s central themes are shown throughout this scene. So never think the Bishop has no importance to the storyline.