Take the wrong way home?

Hey, ya got a minute?

I heard a “blast from the past” last week. “Take the Long Way Home” by the group Supertramp was playing as I shopped in a store. You know how music can sometimes transport you to another place and time? You hear the tune, the words, and without any effort or thought you’re back in the setting where that song made its impression on and in your brain. Music can be a time machine.

The song I mentioned is from the late 70’s. I was just out of college, living and going to seminary in New Brighton, working as youth director at Messiah United Methodist Church in Plymouth, and also “doing time” on the morning cleaning crew at Dayton’s in Rosedale (5:45-10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday! Ugh!)

Being a new resident in the Twin Cities and especially fresh to the east side, I often got lost (no GPS-ing in those days!), went west when I needed to go east, south when I should have been going north, took County Road C when my destination was on County Road B, that sort of thing. And often I did it with a friend/roommate or two in the car at the time. The aforementioned Supertramp song seemed to come on the radio often when we were trying to figure out where we were and which way to go…so we would sing along loudly to our theme song, which became, “Take the Wrong Way Home!” It was perfect. And funny. And stress-relieving. And now it is one of my fondest memories of that time.

In Lent this year we’re going to do what the song, as adapted, suggests – we’re going to “take the wrong way home.”

For our Wednesday evening gatherings (beginning with soup, bread, and bars at 5:30) we will use the book, Gifts of the Dark Wood, Seven Blessings for Soulful Skeptics (and Other Wanderers) . In that book
Eric Elnes leads us into those places we generally would not choose to go, but often find ourselves anyway, places of emptiness, darkness, failure, lost-ness. And he will help us to find there good things that we would not necessarily expect. As he says, “According to the ancients, you don’t need to be a saint or spiritual master to experience profound awakening. You don’t even have to be ‘above average.’ All you really need to be is struggling.”

Have you ever been there? Are you there now? Think you might be sometime in the future? Know someone who is? If you said yes to any of those questions, you might find real value in this year’s Lenten adventure. So, why don’t you plan on coming? You can even buy a copy of the book at church ($13) and get ready – to get lost – with your sisters and brothers! Come on. Let’s “take the wrong way home” together. It’ll be fun. Well, it will a little bit of fun, but not too much. It is Lent after all. Though we could give up being gloomy and glum for the season.

Looking forward to getting lost with you.

Shalom,
Jeff