Friends (with and without bikes) gathered on Friday afternoon for a blessing and send-off of the PA-to-DC bicyclists. Many thanks to all who participated: leaders, long-haul cyclists, in-town cyclists, and all who brought voices to raise in song, prayer and joyful cheer.
Barb Ballenger joined us in song, teaching those gathered a round based on the words of Hillel the Elder:
If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? If I am only for myself than what am I? If not now, when?Pastor Steve Lynn offered the blessing:
We begin our blessing of the bicycles, the riders and their mission with a reading from scripture.
From Ezekiel: When the living creatures moved, the wheels moved beside them; and when the living creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose. Wherever the spirit would go, they went, and the wheels rose along with them; for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. 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 the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.
Present in a world groaning under the excesses of consumption, we acknowledge the goodness of non-motorized human powered transportation and give thanks for the simple beauty of the bicycle. Lord In your Mercy, Hear our prayer.
We ask your blessing and protection today on all who ride: Pedi cabbies, weekend bikers, athletes, homeless folks, students, children, eco-bikers, bike messengers and all who take to the streets and highways, bike paths, parks and mountains. Lord In Your Mercy, hear our prayer
We pray for the safety of Jon, Dave, Jesse and Hannah, Ray and Andy as they ride. Please keep them safe, give them energy and enthusiasm, good judgment, grant them welcome in their rest stops, and restful sleep at night. Lord In Your Mercy, hear our prayer
We pray for their mission, Please bless their example of riding their bikes to Washington, bless their words about caring for creation and allow their words to fall on receptive ears. Lord In Your Mercy, hear our prayers.
And last Holy God, please bless our riders with a strong sense of your presence, joy and peace. Amen
Please receive one more blessing:
May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back, may your journeying be joyous; and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of God’s hand. Amen and Godspeed.
and finally, Cricket added a closing:
We gathered here today to bless and send off these intrepid bicyclists as they
travel to spread the word about the enormous challenge facing us; urge others to action; join in with communities of faith as they demonstrate and explore their own strength of conviction
But in fact, they are also blessing us.
They are, of course, blessing PA IPL by fundraising to help make it possible for us to do this work. As importantly, they are blessing us as individuals and communities, by being visible signs of hope.
As the rest of us walk through the next few days, let us recall your pedals with our steps. Let us feel the strength of hope in your pedaled prayers.
In these days we will pray for that same bright hope of healing action to awaken in each of us, in all those aware of your trip, and in the leaders you are going to visit.
Travel in hope.
Join in community.Be safe.