Road not route

“A route differs from a road not only because it is solely intended for vehicles, but also because it is merely a line that connects one point with another. A route has no meaning in itself; its meaning derives entirely from the two points that it connects. A road is a tribute to space. Every stretch of road has meaning in itself and invites us to stop. A route is the triumphant devaluation of space, which thanks to it has been reduced to a mere obstacle to human movement and a waste of time.”

 - from Immortality by Milan Kundera

I was taken with this quotation when I first read it in the early 90s. It stuck with me. Any travel in rural Africa and you find that roads are more important, to Africans, than routes. You would never take a route. The quickest way might cause you to miss someone or something along the way. Roads are for travelling and learning and maturing and experiencing. 

The difference is a strong challenge to our stressed out schedule keeping world where we spend our life on routes and short cuts and miss so much of the wonder of life in all its fulness. 

The Kundera quotation came back to me one night when I was interviewing songwriter Ricky Ross of Deacon Blue. Ricky had brought his brand new record Pale Rider into the studio with him and told me I would like the track Calvary… and that it was about Christmas! Ricky went on to explain that when he was growing up he noticed, in his Church, that as soon as Jesus was born they had him on the cross. 

We need to make sure that we take Jesus on the road from Bethlehem to Calvary and not by the quickest route. If we have him on a route to the cross then we miss the road of his teaching and life. The destination therefore becomes meaningless as we have no idea what to do when we have gotten there!

MARK 1: 16 - 20

16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.

19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

We need to follow Jesus as he invited his disciples to follow. As we follow down the roads of Galilee, Samaria and Jerusalem we can pick up all his insights. Like fruit off a tree we should put them in the baskets of our souls and then follow Jesus through the cross… and out the other end of resurrection… to live the fruit of his ministry on the other side. 


Not a route to

Too fast, too functional, too distracting

But a road through 

Slow to pay attention for impacting

Not a route to

Too easy, too brief, too matter of fact

But a road through

Taking in all that we’d need, to act

Not a route to

Too cold, too instant, to get it done

But a road through


From Bethlehem to Calvary

It was never meant to be a quick route to

But a following, 

Gathering all the things we’d need

A road that would take us right on through…

PRAYER: Lord, saturate us in the roads you walked, stop us at every helpful place that we might picks up the lessons we need to learn from your life, so that we can live like you… through the cross… to the life of resurrection power. Amen!


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