Pilgrimage as a challenge to Reformed liturgical praxis, is a dissertation done in Practical Theology and Liturgy, investigating the interest in pilgrimage as a ritual. The research was done from a Reformed tradition s perspective with Christian pilgrims from the Reformed tradition as co-researchers. Ethnographic methodological design and participatory observation as method enabled the researcher to reflect the reality of what is going on (Klomp, 2011:69). The empirical research s focus was to gather information on the meaning Christian pilgrims from the Reformed tradition appropriate for themselves in doing a pilgrimage like the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Data analysis was done using a coding system from which outcomes were determined and processed in a liturgical theory for praxis. The researcher applied triangulation and reflexivity several times during the research.
The research starts with an overview of the current interest in pilgrimage amongst Christians from the Reformed tradition globally and specifically from South Africa. Pilgrimage is situated in the academic field of Practical Theology, Liturgy and rituals, while emphasising the continuous process of redefining Practical Theology, based on the work of Browning (1995); Osmer (2008) and Miller-McLemore (2012), explaining Practical Theology as a context-orientated approach. With a description of the four tasks of Practical Theology, the descriptive-empirical, interpretive, normative and the pragmatic, the continuous redefining process is elaborated on further with the development of hermeneutics, the living human web , public theology, the relevance of a leadership model, the dynamics of change, the application within Liturgy and the relationship between worship and culture.
Liturgy s shift towards multi-disciplinary research, individualism, globalisation and technology is investigated with emphasis on rituals and symbols, within the context of individual interpretation and self-designed expression of faith. This trend indicates a change of landscape in the Reformed tradition within the framework of liturgia condenda / liturgy in the making. Social Scientific Biblical Interpretation is used for the purpose of knowledge of the social context in Biblical times and not as an exegetical method for the chosen passage from Scripture. The relevance of concepts from a multi-disciplinary perspective were analysed namely liminality/liminoid from anthropology, heterotopia from philosophy and liturgical-inculturation from theology with accompanying concepts of liminality namely communitas, societas and flow.
The history and meaning of pilgrimage through the ages are described from the Old Testament through the New Testament, the early Church, the Middle Ages, Reformation and afterwards up to recent developments. The outcome of this research clearly indicates a difference in how pilgrimage is used as a spiritual tool in current times by incorporating the more personal needs with the spiritual, indicating continuities as well as discontinuities from traditional pilgrimage. The development of different forms of liturgy in the different traditions, East-Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Protestant Ecumenical and the Charismatic Churches elevates the presence of five basic elements of liturgy in all traditions. Based on Luke 24, the Emmaus narrative, the chosen passage from Scripture for the theological foundation of this research, the researcher concludes with a theology of pilgrimage.