Another weekend, another diversion.

The changed man rang me on Saturday. That’s the first time I’ve answered a phone call from him since I moved here. While I am responsible for giving him the wrong number I think it’s more a case of the situation amuses the phone network. Not evil, just bored. I decided to stay away from a visit as I was going out in the evening. Travelled across town to a potluck supper on Pacific Street with the Ascent people. The food didn’t stop and it didn’t help that I experimented with using my crockpot to make a roast, put meat, turn regularly. Very successful, very delicious. Next month we have an evening service at St. Martins.

So full I didn’t eat again until one o’clock the next afternoon. I thought about going to the Art Gallery to hear a floor talk, instead I decided to wait and go to the first chapel service at the Castle for the semester, readings from the church year. Neat but not gawdy in my opinion.

I haven’t posted the editorial that I did for my parish newsletter. I have had a couple of positive comments from parishioners so far. I will put it in a cut since there’s a bit of Jesus talk at the end.

I went to a chapel service the address was on the story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet before his death. Jesus’ example was described as a towel-and-bowl culture, a servant culture. The thought that I meditated on during the address was paraphrase of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: ‘Hey, you sass that hoopy Jesus? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.’ Interstellar hitchhikers apparently have their own slang where ‘sass’ means to know someone, a ‘hoopy’ is a really together guy and ‘frood’ is a really amazingly together guy.

A towel is important to an intergalactic hitchhiker and the Guide lists various ways it can be used on exotic worlds with evocative names: for staying warm, for lying on the beach, as a blanket, or a sail on heady rivers, in wet towel fights, or as a gas mask, or a blindfold against ravenous but very stupid beasts. (This last may not be true, the Guide is not entirely reliable.) After all that you can still use a towel to dry yourself down, so long as it is reasonably clean. Most importantly a towel is a sign that you are a well-equipped and accomplished traveller and can cadge items missing out of your own supplies from more naive admirers you may encounter, like a deep-space oxygen tank.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a trilogy of five books at the time of his death, appeals to Christians, despite the author of the series, Douglas Adams, being probably the second most famous atheist of recent history. Perhaps it is the idea that there might be a Lonely Planet, or a Rough Guide to the Meaning of Life; the need to prove that we have the answers. The list of jargon words used at General Assembly was called the Hitchhikers Guide to General Assembly for several years. Perhaps it is the discovery of new worlds and marvellous vistas that appeals to our imaginations.

It was discovered that one of Adams’ main characters, Arthur Dent, was the same as a Seventeenth Century divine who wrote a book called The Plain Man’s Pathway to Heaven in 1601. He had seen the title, but claimed there was no conscious influence.

Still we remain hitchhikers. The book of Hebrews concludes that Jesus died outside the city and so we have no permanent city in this world. A marginal people must always be ready to let go of what possesses us and move on, and Jesus is the pioneer of our faith. He calls us to go out boldly and make disciples of all nations.

Do you know where your towel is?