The One Path…

Morro Rock jutting up from Morro Bay signals the start of the most remote part if my journey.

I’m using special maps for this journey.  They are made of a foldable, durable plastic and like old paper road maps from the days before GPS it folds into the size of a small pamphlet. Each fold covers a small section of the route – about 20 per section. Extremely useful.

A funny thing happens to my map at this point along the coast.  Each fold now has two – no longer one – but two map sections per fold.  This is because there is only one road between here and Monterey.  Coastal 1 – the most scenic stretch of highway in the world in my opinion.  The road my be winding and undulating,  but it’s the only road.

That’s comforting in a sense.  At least twice on this trip I’ve taken unintended detours.  Yesterday I followed signs that said “Bike Route” and would up in Avila – a nice seaside town, but 8 miles out of the way.  In Santa Barbara I followed a sign that said “scenic bike route” and would up riding several extra miles through a place called Hope Ranch.  Again, lovely scenery, but not where I had planned to go.

How do I  manage to get lost so easily? Well, in some cases the Pacific Coast Bike Route has changed since I got my map 10 years ago.  Sometimes I’ve been tempted to use other sources for guidance like the GPS navigation on my phone.  Once I even thought I knew better than the map and chose to take a flat route into Morro Bay rather than make a killer climb up Truitt road and over an 800 pass.  That last one worked out pretty good actually.

A famous quote says, “Not all who wander are lost.”  Conversely, those who only wander can easily become lost.  Many people seek G-d earnestly and do so meandering along paths both traditional and non-traditional.  California has a reputation for being home to the non-traditional and bizarre.  Really, however, folks here are no different here than elsewhere.  Back home in Ft. Wayne, IN I note that there are number of New Age centers that might seem more at home in the Bay Area.  People everywhere are seeking the path that will lead them to God.

Not all paths are equal.  Some paths go nowhere.  Some paths are even abusive. They are led by people like the sadistic map maker who decided that the bike route needed to go over an 800 fpot mountain pass along Truitt Rd.  Despite the sayings on bumper stickers not all roads lead to G-d.

As Christians we ought not be intolerant of those who meandering around looking for the right road.  We should take our example from the Apostle Paul. In Acts 17 we read how he walked into the marketplace in Athens and, taking note of an altar dedicated to “an unknown god”, he began to tell the Athenian about G-d and the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

He did not condemn nor berate.  He did not grow violent nor verbally abusive.  In fact, he began by complimenting the Athenians on the quest to know the Divine.

As people continue wandering – looking for the one path – we should make sure that the path of Christian discipleship we are traveling stands up to their scrutiny.  Let us journey with humility, integrity and, most of all, agape love.

Yesterday’s milage was 61.  Today civilization thins out considerably.  Nothing but a single road along a rocky, beautiful coast ahead do r the next couple of days.



Author: pastortoddhammond

I have been a parish minister nearly 30 years and have had the privilege of pastoring from Maine to California. I began serving the Agape Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Indiana at the end of 2014.

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