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Lay hold of eternal life

by davesandel on September 17th, 2021

Friday, September 17, 2021                            (today’s lectionary)

Lay hold of eternal life

Like many prophets, preachers and healers before and after him, Jesus took no baggage for the journey. He depended on the help of those along the road, and pilgrims ever since have wanted to follow his lead.

We brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it. If we have food and clothing, we shall be content with that. For the love of money is the root of all evils.

Although I didn’t count myself as monk, preacher or prophet, I set out to hitchhike across the country, from New York City to Cleveland, Toledo, and Valparaiso … where I hesitated for awhile, long enough to rediscover my alma mater. I lived there a few months and moved to Chicago with my new girlfriend. We spent four years together.

In 1976 I left for the rest of my trip, from Chicago to San Francisco. This time I carried a small guitar in a plaid gig bag strapped onto my back pack. I headed south to St. Louis to visit my guitarist friend Jim, a dorm floor supervisor at Valpo. In the Ozarks, my family’s favorite vacation spot, I slept in a cave on Table Rock Lake and dove into the morning water. In Fayetteville, I met another guitar buddy with a band, who played much better than I did. We canoed the Current River, and I met his friend Jay, who was also heading west. Jay had a car.

Religion with contentment is a great gain.

We traveled together for three weeks and got along well. At the Lama Foundation north of Taos we built an outhouse, climbed the highest mountain in New Mexico, and spent the night up there in the clouds. We flew down a riverbed the next day and ended up a few hundred feet from the Taos Music Festival at the ski resort.

We drove west. That night we slept through a downpour on a Hopi hillside, waking up to the village’s Home Dance just beginning below us.

Jay and I camped again beside a very flat lake near the Canyon de Chelly, before driving to Grand Canyon Village and arriving at midnight. We stood beside the black yawning canyon, dizzy, seeing nothing, feeling everything.

In no way can a man redeem himself, or pay his own ransom to God. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs.

Fifty miles driving mostly lost into the desert on a dirt road, at last we found a parking lot and path down into the canyon’s Havasupai Indian Reservation and the blue-green waters of the Supai River, deep waterfalls along a path to the Colorado. We had no desire to leave this place. We stayed several days, hiked up the 15 mile trail and got back in Jay’s car. We parted at Route 66.

Las Vegas. Los Angeles, Big Sur, San Francisco. I kept a journal, and the stories fill several hundred pages. In San Francisco I did NOT become a student of the Alexander Technique for Massage and Therapy, as I had planned. Instead, in Berkeley, I joined the Moonies.

God was throwing me from one side of his pendulum to the other, shaking me to the core. The peace that passes understanding would come later.

Do not pierce yourself with many pains. Instead, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Compete well for the faith. Lay hold of eternal life, to which you have been called.

(1 Timothy 6, Psalm 49, Matthew 11, Luke 8)

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