We left Santiago yesterday morning early and walked 30 kilometers toward Finesterra. Leaving Santiago, we met an Aussie named Phil who walked with us, so our party comprised two Canadians and two Aussies. We decided to push past the normal first day’s stop at 27 km and ended up at a small albergue quite high in the mountains. The highlight of the day came when we gathered in the evening with the other pilgrims for a communal meal. There were about 18 of us from a large selection of countries and age groups at the table but we shared a unity of spirit that was touching. We all talked about our Camino experiences and adventures and had plenty of laughs despite our struggle to communicate in whatever language worked best.
I was impacted by the significance of “table fellowship”. In Old Testament times and as is still the case in many countries, sharing a meal with someone is a very meaningful experience, almost a symbol of special relationship. That’s why the Pharisees had so much trouble when Jesus ate with sinners. And that’s why communion is so significant for Christians. The communal meal we shared in last night was special because it broke down barriers between nationalities, languages and age groups. We were all simply “pilgrims” who are sharing a journey.