Last week I found myself searching for guidance from Jesus on bicycling . I was shocked he never mentions it. Biking was probably just too dangerous for him, what with those sandals and long robes. But think how much faster he could have spread the Good News with his peloton of disciples.
I am not one to give up easily when searching Scripture—unless I don’t have Internet access. If that’s the case, I will keep searching only after I’ve rented a crane to lift my Bible With Apocrypha and Concordance off the shelf.
I was looking for guidance on cycling because we were on vacation and doing a long bike ride over some pretty rocky roads. (I love that in an ice cream but not so much on a bike path.) ANYway, I soon realized that the best way to ride these roads with the least amount of pain, stress and consternation was to hold on to the handlebars loosely and to rise up a bit out of the seat.
You experienced cyclists out there are shouting, “Duh!” so loud my ears are bleeding. The thing is, this kind of riding is totally counter-intuitive. Everything in you is saying, “Brace yourself! Hold on tight! Squeeze, tense, be strong.” But when you “post” or unweight your butt there is so much less pain over the bumps and potholes.
This doesn’t mean you close your eyes and hope for the best. It means you keep focus, relax and float just above the saddle and keep pedaling. See where I am going with this?
All of us have ridden rocky roads in our lives; times when we were afraid and prayed not to crash. Sometimes we did crash. But we got back on and kept moving forward. And after a few times we learned exactly this skill: hold things loosely and lightly; float, unweight, keep pedaling. Pedaling, moving forward is important. Unless you’re a highly skilled cyclist who was born in Spandex, if you stop moving forward you fall.
If you know nothing about the Tour de France, let me just say two things. One is that no rider gets ahead without the peloton, the bunch of riders around them. Riders in a group save energy by riding close to other riders. Second, anything can happen in a road race: flat tires, rain, brutal heat, and . . . bystanders. Last year a bystander caused the entire peloton to crash!
This extremely challenging Tour de Church that we are on right now is testing everyone’s skill, strength and endurance. More important, it’s testing our capacity to love, to forgive and to hold accountable. But the good news is that we’ve been training for it! As a community we have prayed, served, studied Scripture and worshipped together. We are the peloton. By staying close to one another we are comforted and strengthened so we can keep pedaling, hold things loosely and lightly and unweight our butts!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge God, and God will make straight your paths.”
So yeah, often we can’t see what’s around the corner. We can’t know so we trust.
Since I couldn’t get an appropriate remark from Jesus (comment below if you find one!), I’ll quote my other favorite guy, Bruce Lee. Yeah, I know, he is not considered the son of God. Still, can you argue with this?
“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. How can you not love that? Water is not weak. He points out that it can flow or crash. Think of Snoqualmie Falls! There are times when we must be mighty like the falls and times when we must be soothing like a creek. Be like water, my friends.
And just for the record, I did discover a Biblical reference to bicycle road racing: Ezekiel 1:21.
“When they moved, the others moved; when they stopped, the others stopped; and when they rose from the earth, the wheels rose along with them, for a living spirit was in the wheels.”
Sounds like the Tour de France to me.