Sunday, May 18, 2008


Yesterday morning, Saturday, it was 64 degrees at 10 a.m., so Tom and I decided to do a four-miler on the Central Lakes Trail. I had just eaten my way through the first half of May, and Tom had just gotten back from a week-long Lake of the Woods fishing trip in which fried fish, bacon, potatoes, creamed corn, and eggs had been the main entrees for seven straight days. A four-mile walk seemed in order.

Somewhere near Mile Marker 39, close to the Lake Geneva/Lake Victoria bridge, I began noticing graffiti spray-painted on the asphalt trail. Usually when I see graffiti, I assume the worst and demurely avert my eyes. However, this time, it was different. First of all, the penmanship and spelling were actually pretty good. I saw signs of intelligent life, rare in much trail graffiti. Secondly, it appeared to be Christian graffiti, encouraging me to love God and give up my sinful ways.

I’ll admit I was somewhat surprised to discover that spray painting a public trail was an appropriate way to spread the gospel. However, I found the graffiti to be very spiritually helpful, because it answered that annoying bracelet question, “WWJD?” Now I know exactly what Jesus would do. He would evidently grab a spray can of DayGlo orange paint and write the beatitudes all the way down the road to Damascus. I can see Him clearly, with His finger on the spray can trigger, carefully spelling out, “Blessed are the peacemakers . . .”

Of course, not being entirely up on my theology terminology, some of the graffiti abbreviations puzzled me. I’ve never been able to understand a word people are saying when they speak in tongues, so it didn’t surprise me a bit that I couldn’t figure out what they meant when they were spraying divinely inspired abbreviations on a biking/walking trail.

For example, W.O.C. kept appearing over and over again, occasionally interspersed with an L.O.C. I knew it was a secret Christian message because right next to it would be something like “Represent Jesus U Choose” in red and white spray paint (Pentecost colors) or a life-size cross with little rays beaming out in green spray paint, just like the cross really looked on Good Friday. So the abbreviations had to have some deep, religious meaning. Warriors of Chaos? Women of Color? And how about L.O.C.? Loss of consciousness? Library of Congress?

As I hiked briskly along, trying to avoid stepping on the holy messages for fear of offending a higher power, I sensed my spiritual unworthiness and lack of understanding. All I know is that the next time I am in the spray paint department at Home Depot and I hear a rushing wind followed by a still, small voice in my head saying, “Buy the paint . . . buy the paint,” I will not shrug it off lightly. I will buy that paint and spray whatever the Holy Spirit tells me to spray—on the Central Lakes Trail or Interstate 94 or the west side of the Pentagon. It’s what Jesus would do.

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