Right before I left Louisiana to fly to Spain I watched a video in which author Anne Lamott quoted spiritualist Ram Dass saying, “when it is all said and done, we’re all just walking each other home.” That is Dass’s way, I think, of expressing the meaning of life and the direction in which we are all ultimately living. We’re all just walking each other home.
Home, of course, can be a general term, like a thought or a notion of where one belongs or fits in. But Dass sounds like he’s being more specific. Home in this case is what’s next after life, and if we hear that in a Christian context it becomes pretty specific. In those terms it is pointing to the reign of God and whatever shape that may take.
According to our reading from Luke 19 today, Jesus had a very specific place to which he was headed. It had to be Jerusalem. That’s the only place that would fit the plan, God’s work of salvation in and through Jesus. “After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem” (v. 28). In truth, Jesus was walking all of us home — not that we no longer have the opportunity to walk together. After all, this is how, according to the song, the world “will know we are Christians.”
I missed an opportunity to “walk” with someone today, just as I am gearing up to literally walk a considerable distance. I was sitting at a cafe this afternoon enjoying lunch, when an elderly woman came to my table to beg and cajole me until I would give her some money. Eventually I gave in and plopped a one euro coin in her cup. No one else at the cafe did anything. And that may be why a little bit later when a second, younger woman, approached my table with the same question that I declined.
What could I have done? Well, more than give one euro to one woman and nothin to another. I could have offered them both lunch. I could have found out their names. I could have prayed with them. I did none of that. And I missed the chance to walk with someone even for just a little while. I’m not saying I was their last chance or that I have insight that the people of Madrid don’t. I’m just saying it was a chance and I didn’t take it.
That was one of the things I wanted to avoid, too, while I’m on the Camino. I wanted to act more like the “Good Samaritan” and less like the priest and Levite. Tomorrow offers another chance for me to get things sorted out in my life. I hope I take that opportunity. Who knows who may be waiting for me to walk with them.
Prayer: God of infinite patience, look beyond out hesitating, our dithering, our failure act when we are needed and find in us what is good and compassionate as we live toward your coming reign. In Jesus’ name. Amen.