This Sunday we celebrate Earth Day, and we will talk about walking, journeying and hiking. Several weeks ago I preached (and wrote on this blog) about Highways and Byways. We investigated the difference between arrogant imperial highway systems and human-sized paths created by local people. We also observed how different road systems mirror different ways of life. Empires are built and sustained by an arrogant ideology often called “our way of life”.
This Sunday we will learn from Jesus how to leave the imperial ways of life behind and choose and enjoy alternative paths of living. We can start with the very simple act of walking. Walking is a joyful and healthy act of defiance and protest. In our world it is a true prophetic alternative mode of being. In a car, we cannot hear birds singing. We cannot smell the fresh-cut-grass. We cannot see the morning dew on flowers. We cannot feel the fresh breeze in our face. We cannot touch a butterfly (we wash them off the windshield.)
This alternative living starts even before we make the first step on our way. We need to return WALKING to our vocabulary and thinking. Imperial bureaucrats love words like TRANSPORTATION. Believe it or not, recently I even saw the monster-phrase FOOT-TRANSPORTATION. I prefer just to WALK. I hate being called PEDESTRIAN. If walkers are called pedestrians, drivers should be called "vehicularists" or even better, "motorheads".
Thankfully we live in the most walkable (or if you wish walking-friendly) city in the entire United States. We might have the ability to walk, but we often live as if we were trying to compensate for walking, so we live our lives as if we were driving, flying, or piloting our lives as supersonic jets. In our city we can walk, now we need to re-learn a walking, slower pace ethos. Indeed walking is a joyful, alternative pace of living. This Sunday we will observe Jesus walk, and try to learn from him an alternative way of living.