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Dear Reader

I compose and post these articles with only one desire in my heart: to praise God and to offer modest help on your spiritual journey.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

OPEN ROADS – JOURNEY OF FAITH

Our recent celebration of Route 66 recalls the importance roads play
in history and in our personal lives. For some, the most important
road was the one out of town. Leaving behind their childhood to
explore the world. Others experience the road that has brought
strangers into their lives. Roads matter. Roads allow us to expand
and grow as individuals and a society. The history of man
demonstrates how roads connect different cultures and peoples.

All of the New Testament is based on Jesus traveling along the roads
of Palestine or Paul's journeys. The most iconic of journeys for those
who treasure the Bible are the ancient roads taken by Abraham and
later the people's journey through the desert escaping slavery in
Egypt.

Every road begins as a footpath, one step ahead of another from
whatever place one begins. As others follow those footsteps the road
takes shape from one town to another, linking strangers.

Traveling across Spain in a bus I still recall the images of many
ancient paths worn well into the earth from hundreds of years. In
Israel many a pilgrim, not restricted to a tour, seek the ancient
footpaths worn along the mountains near the river Jordan traveling
from the Sea of Galilee down to Jerusalem. On every continent the
story of their various nations is carved into the earth by the foot
paths of peoples in search of something. That something may simply be
change, or goods, or promise of relationships or a countless list of
possibilities.

We have a privilege to live in a town shaped by the road. The tracks
still left behind by the wagon wheels in Beale Springs is a precursor
of the history that is shaped by Route 66. "The Mother Road" gained
an everlasting fascination and following with the popular television
series Route 66 broadcast forty years ago. To think that 17 different
nations still celebrate the history of this road is amazing. Perhaps
it is more about what Route 66 symbolizes that continues to hold this
fascination. It stands for freedom – freedom to jump in a car and
seek a future or just to explore. Freedom to travel without border
restrictions. Freedom to seek a better life. Freedom to seek some
fun, something different from the humdrum of life.

What an incredible moment when my partner and I saw a poster of Route
66 in a travel agency in Napier, New Zealand a few years ago. The
friendly business owner not only removed the poster from the display
window but took a photo of both of us holding a corner of the prize.
Roads can indeed bring people together. It can also connect us to home
when we are oceans away.

Leaving home, going home, just visiting home shapes our memories, our
journeys, our lives. Every journey begins with a single step on the
road of life. I've often spoken of faith being located not in one's
head, where we can be paralyzed by confusion and conflicting ideas.
Nor is faith located in the heart. The heart filled with fear can
shackle us. No, I believe faith is best located in the feet. Faith is
proven when our head says there is no reason, our heart fills us with
dread, but we make an act of faith to step forward trusting God will
indeed carry us safely on the path of life.

Hopefully we learn from this "mother road" we share as home. Let us
welcome the stranger, trust in God, hope for a future recalling the
lessons of the past. "Happy trails to you" – walk in faith, be
anchored in hope, and always open to love.

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