Forge: to form or make by concentrated effort. To push through limitations, thoughts, comfort zones. To change the record. To change history through changing dialogue via bold action.
Along the pilgrim’s journey from London to Dover, we pass the most significant Christian site along the pilgrimage – Canterbury Cathedral. In this institution of stone, engraved in the cloister stone seat is an inscription by Gregory Blaxland. The image above is this inscription.
Young Gregory was born in Fordwich, Kent in 1778. He attended The King’s School in Canterbury. It is while a student here that he inscribed graffiti of his name and an outline of his shoe.
This may have been a sign of things to come. Gregory, emigrated to Australia in the early days of the European occupation of Australia. It was a frontier land filled with strange animals and plants and new frontiers to explore and conquer. In Australia, Gregory bought himself eighty head of cattle and 2000 acres in St Mary’s west of Sydney town.
In 1813, he needed more land to graze his cattle, and with William Lawson and William Charles Wentworth he mounted an expedition to cross the Blue Mountains. The crossing took 21 days and 6 days to return.
Together, these men were instrumental in forging a way through the mountains to discover fertile farming and grazing lands. With the successful crossing they were granted 1000 acres each west of the mountains and opened the route for others to follow in their steps.
The pioneers who opened up Australia had a spirit of walking into the unknown. For forging their way forward. As we make our ways toward Jerusalem we are forging a path to change the record. To rewrite history. To bring awareness to the plight of the Palestinian people, who have conveniently been swept under the carpet by governments and media.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
It take great boldness to forge your way forward. Gregory Blaxland from childhood onwards proved he had this characteristic. Emigrating to Australia, still a wild and unexplored continent on the other side of the world was a bold move.
Similarly, the good folk at Amos Trust have been very bold and courageous to not only think of the possibility but actually implement the huge logistical exercise of organising for us pilgrims to make our way to Jerusalem.
It was a bold statement to make to commemorate the 100th year anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, the 50 year anniversary to the close of the 6 Day War, and the 10th year anniversary of the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
We have the opportunity to rewrite the written forgeries of history and media reporting and neglect of reporting. It is time with every step to replace falsities with truths. The simple act of walking, our daily commitment will become the means to this end.
With each step we stand in solidarity with the Palestinians. The journey is to remind others never to forget the Palestinian people and their suffering. To do so is to forget our own humanity.
As we in the West sit in our homes, with the latest technology, food in abundance, conveniences, and modern-day comforts others are suffering. As we forge forward we can never forget. We will be judged as has been said, by future generations, not by our cleverness, but our compassion to others.