As many of you know a few weeks ago one of my cyclist friends passed away in an accident with a distracted driver. I honestly never expected to be put in an emotional place like that; in some ways torn between blame and concern. I wanted to blame drivers who cave in to the distractions around them. I was concerned for my safety and the safety of others who ride on the roadways of our town. But this is not the ultimate issue in a situation like this. Believe it or not, it’s community. I experienced this the Tuesday night after the accident as our team and other riders gathered to ride out to the accident site and pay our respects to our friend.
Before we set off on the ride I was asked to say a quick word of prayer and I did. Searching for the right words to express the grief of losing Mike and yet express the hope & comfort that Christ gives us (and just as the Holy Spirit does for us in times of need; the words came), I prayed and the ride began. Fifty riders all gathered together in one peloton honoring our friend. Looking back over my shoulder at the riders behind me I felt this power – the power of community. It was quite a sight to behold.
As we rode we all chatted; about important things and insignificant things, but along the way we were all reminded of Mike. Our fond memories, funny moments, and at some point the lingering questions of “why?”. Sometimes community is really easy. It rolls along and there is no work because we are all together. Other times it’s an uphill battle and feels like it’s every man for himself. It’s easy to sit back and rest on the memories of good times and it’s easy to get upset at the injustices that can be done in the world. The hardest parts are the hills. The hills mean having to stick around through the easy parts in order to be a gospel influence when difficult times arise.
I’ve always seen myself floating between two communities – a cycling community and my church community. But during this ride I noticed that the hills had given way and I could see that I am a part of one community. I am in a cycling community that is being affected by the gospel, and being drawn into gospel community. My church isn’t separate from my cycling community – it’s being engaged through my presence and my practice of being a part of it. Each of us has a community that needs to be drawn into the gospel community. The most difficult question is will we weather the hills to see them come together.