Sometimes I like to reminisce about times long past. The other day for a variety of reasons, I was feeling a bit melancholy and my mind drifted back to living in Los Angeles in the 1970’s when I finished high school and approached the end of my undergraduate years at UCLA. I thought of days at the beach, going to movies on Hollywood Blvd, hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains, going on dates in Pasadena, and exploring the streets of Westwood.
It was during that decade, in my opinion, that some of the greatest music was written. My friends and I took advantage of the extraordinary variety of the concerts offered in Los Angeles at that time, from attending Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and Rolling Stones shows to listening to the LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl.
One band I never saw live was the band War, which produced and sang the song “Low Rider”, the quintessential song about the LA lowrider car scene in Los Angeles during that time. Remember the lyrics. “All my friends know the low rider. The low rider is a little higher. The low rider drives a little slower. Low rider is a real goer…Take a little trip, take a little trip, take a little trip and see.”
During that era, depending on the neighborhood, it was not unusual to see astonishing lowrider cars cruising up and down a variety of boulevards. The craftsmanship and artistry put into the vehicles was extraordinary. Not only could the cars move in amazing ways, not only were the paint jobs skillfully and artfully created, but once in a while a lowrider would have a dashboard ornament. There were all kinds of ornaments meant to add an exclamation point to the design of the vehicle.
While I never drove a lowrider, to this day I have a dashboard ornament in my office. Silly, perhaps. Offensive to others, maybe. But it is a Jesus dashboard ornament. While some might find it trite or sacrilegious, my Jesus dashboard ornament serves to remind me where to keep my focus as I travel the daily roads of life. Some of the roads are bumpy, scary, and upsetting, while others are quite delightful for which I feel gratitude. But I know if I can just keep my eyes on the real Jesus that whatever road I happen to find myself upon, I will be ok regardless of whether or not I make it to the destination I have in mind.
As people on this journey of life and faith, I believe the more we focus and keep our attention on the Risen Lord who is with and within us, the greater strength we will have, the more peace we will experience, the more joy we will have to spread, and the more love we will have to share, the later of which is the whole point anyway. After all, perhaps it is Jesus who sings to each of us, “take a little trip, take a little trip, take a little trip with me, and you will see.”