While working as a pastor in rural Scotland some years ago, Matt Canlis produced the film Godspeed along with his brother Brian Canlis and friend Danny Lund. The film explores Christian spirituality and the pace at which many of us live. “The only problem,” Canlis says, “was when people watched it and thought, ‘There is greener grass in Scotland, let’s just move over there.’”

For Canlis, it’s critical that Christians “bloom where we are planted” and develop a deep spirituality in our own context. “So I conceived of a pilgrimage in your own backyard—a book that helps you be found where you already are,” he explains.

That book is the recently released Backyard Pilgrim: 40 Days at Godspeed. CT connected with Canlis to talk about how “blooming where we’re planted” takes on particular significance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As many now find themselves confined to their own homes, yards, and neighborhoods, how has Backyard Pilgrim taken on new meaning?

I initially conceived of this as a pilgrimage in your own backyard—a book that helps you be found where you already are. But it is not just a book to read—it is a book that guides you on a walk. Over 40 days, readers follow two paths. One is the Bible path, which explores Scripture passages from Genesis all the way up to Jesus.

The other is the parish path, which involves walking in your community for 15 minutes a day. Another important piece of it is daily saying “Here I am” to God in prayer. Prior to the pandemic, we gathered in pilgrim groups once a week to say, “Here we are.” The idea was to regularly both say, “Here I am as a child of God,” ...

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