Music by Ron Klusmeier
Words by Walter Farquharson

Lyrics as Poetry

As pilgrims we are walking,
walking to a promised day;
we struggle with our baggage,
with temptation’s call to stay.
We find the journey tiring
and confusing in demand;
we long for safer travel,
charts and maps of promised land.

As pilgrims we are talking,
talking with our family here;
we struggle with our language,
and the changes that we fear.
We find the journey frees us
from the strictures of the past;
we seek new understandings
and community to last.

As pilgrims we are feeding,
feeding on the bread God gives;
our journey is an answer
to the good news that Christ lives.
Our service to each other
is the gift that makes us free;
our struggling for God’s promise
determines what we’ll be.

As pilgrims we are singing,
singing praises on the way;
from worship comes direction
and the shape of each new day.
God’s earth made new is promised,
with justice flowing strong;
there’s courage for our walking
and for overthrowing wrong.

As pilgrims we are seeking,
seeking grace from you our God;
we need to know your presence,
guide us with Christ’s shepherd rod.
Give us strength to serve you truly
as we move from place to place;
let us journey on as pilgrims
while relying on your grace.

Words by
Walter FarquharsonCopyright © 1979 by Walter Farquharson
Administered by Hope Publishing Company
Carol Stream, Illinois • USA

Comments About Song


This song was written for an annual meeting of Saskatchewan Conference of the United Church of Canada.

Significant changes were taking place in the world, in our country, in our communities and our churches. For some that was exciting, challenging, all something to be welcomed. For others it was frightening. Some fled for safer places, some tried to hunker down and prevent change from happening, some felt hurt, or angry, judged from many sides.

More voices were speaking of the church less as an institution comfortably settled in a society that liked having it around to speaking of a church as a pilgrim people, a people on the journey, a people often declared to be strangers, aliens, upsetters of the status quo.

Since the writing of this song, changes have continued happening. Not all have been healthy for the church. Numbers supporting local churches have dramatically declined in our country and certainly in our denomination. We’re an aging crew. Concern for survival has, in many locations, overtaken concern for service to community and to the forgotten or pushed aside of the world. Sometimes it seems we put more energy into proclaiming what we do not believe than we do into what we do believe. There is a tendency to be cut off from our past biblically, historically, liturgically. As a people, we have less and less contact or knowledge of the great themes of creation, exodus, exile. We may forget that love has been defined for us in the ministry of Jesus and in the narratives of God’s working in and through the people over the ages. Perhaps we don’t sing enough of the hymns of the church or think enough about what and why people have sung over the ages, and why it is important to know what and why we sing today in our services of worship and our times of informal gatherings.

A book by Walter Brueggemann published in 2019 is entitled A Glad Obedience (Why and What We Sing). In Part II of the book, Brueggemann looks at a variety of hymns old and new, examining context and content. The book is insightful and proves to be an encouraging reflective read for any who love the hymns they have sung, played or listened to.

A hymn, like our faith, incarnates. It takes flesh. So, in this hymn “Pilgrims”, faith is described with verbs. We are a people walking, talking, feeding, singing, seeking.

Audio Sample

One Verse
played on piano by Ron Klusmeier

Scripture References

  • Genesis 12:1-5
  • Exodus 12:1-11
  • Exodus 16:1-18
  • Job 38:1-7
  • Psalm 135:1-3
  • Isaiah 55:12
  • Mark 14:26
  • Luke 2:8-20
  • Luke 24:13-16
  • Hebrews 11:8-10

Season, Theme
or Subject

  • Challenge
  • Change
  • Christian∶ journey
  • Church∶ community
  • Community
  • Faith
  • Free, Freedom
  • Gathering
  • Human Relationships
  • Journey
  • Justice, Human Rights
  • Lent
  • Life∶ living life
  • Pilgrim, Pilgrimage
  • Relationships∶ relationships with others
  • Renewal
  • Service, Serving
  • Sing, Singing
  • Trust
  • Unity
  • Worship

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