Saturday, September 13, 2008

Road Signs

Lead me in the path of your Commandments, for I delight in it. Ps. 119:35

Ever since I moved to Minnesota, there has been one intersection that has been under construction. "Unweave the Weave" is the friendly name for the three year project to reconstruct the intersection of 35E and 694. I don't think I ever drove the same route through that particular knot twice. It has been an exercise in reading road signs to get where one wants to go. 

Once I would have railed against the machine that puts up all the detour and road closed signs. I truly believe that I-35 through Oklahoma City was under construction for 10 years straight, all in an attempt to slow down our family trips to Grandma's house!

Then the construction began on the intersection near my home, the one I always take off of I-35W. This intersection was a hassle turning left, because of a lack of lights and enough travel lanes across the bridge. So when things slowed down as the city added two more lanes to the bridge (actually building a whole new bridge in two parts) and putting up signal lights, I was thrilled. 

I really didn't mind all the cones and barrels. I was pleased to see the "road closed" signs when it meant that my new bridge was being built, and I rejoiced when the old one was demolished. Even if that meant traveling around the back way to get to work a day or two.

When the I-35 bridge fell and the signs went up and the detours were made semi-permanent I gained a new respect for all the Annoyance of Orange.

Now, the weave is almost re-woven, my intersection is complete, and the new bridge is due to open next week. It is no longer a game of "chicken" to turn left, and I know so many new ways to get around Minneapolis.

All the signs and cones and barrels and barriers have a purpose: to send us on the safe path through whatever reconstruction is being done.

Psalm 119 reminds us that God's Commandments serve the same sort of purpose: to lead us on the safe path. Jesus' life and resurrection made that path a saving path. 

Something human and fallen in us rails against the machine that says "Do Not!" Even when the "do not"s are God's good commandments. Even the "Do This" commandments make us cry out when it means we can't do our shopping on a Sunday. 

Paul reminds us that all the "Do This" and the "Do Not" rules can be summed up in 5 words: "Love your neighbor as yourself". (Romans 13:9

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