Life Is Like Riding A Bicycle

“Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

— Albert Einstein

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

— Philippians 4:6
 
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Bike Ride

I love fall. I love the crisp autumnal weather where summer has broken and winter has yet to set in. The temperature makes it one of the best times to go bicycling. I particularly relish bike riding into Yorktown during this season of one way bridges. With the wind blowing through my hair I merrily wave at the long line of waiting cars.

As I rode into work today, I reflected upon the wonder of bicycles. With two pedals and no engine I am able to propel myself at a speed that would not be sustainable by foot. Little did I know the tragedy that stood behind the inspiration of this pedaling marvel.

The bicycle was invented in the year 1817 by a German named Baron Karl von Drais. His Laufmaschine (german for “running machine”) was constructed mostly of wood. It was nicknamed a dandyhorse due to the brave and whimsical men who tried their hand at balancing on a bike. What inspired the bike?

The prior year was known as the year with no summer. In 1815 a major eruption took place at Mount Tambora in the Dutch East Indies. It is thought that this was the largest eruption in at least 1,300 years. The event caused a volcanic winter that led to freezing conditions in the middle of June the following year. The volcano of 1815 caused crops to die in 1816 which caused a mass starvation for horses. Many accepted the lack of transport by horse during this somber season. Baron Karl saw the need for an alternative means for transport. Necessity is the mother of invention.

Karl’s inspiration reminds me of a recent conversation: don’t waste your sorrows. It is often our times of grief that reveal some of our greatest triumphs if we keep our focus on God. Our choice is between staying stuck our pedaling though it. Paul reminds us, tell God what you need, trust Him to work and never stop giving thanks.

Prayer:

God, Though we may face dark and gloomy seasons we will not be anxious. In everything, we trust You as our heavenly Father who gives good gifts. We know that sorrow may last for this moment but hope comes in the morning. Give us a sense of balance born not of a smooth road but of our continued trust in You. Though our energy wanes grant us the strength to keep peddling. Amen.


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Songs About Homecoming

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.”  John 14:1-4

“We wander in our thousands over the face of the earth, the illustrious and the obscure, earning beyond the seas our fame, our money, or only a crust of bread; but it seems to me

that for each of us going home must be like going to render an account.”

― Joseph Conrad

“All the poems of the poet who has entered into his poethood are poems of homecoming.” 

― Martin Heidegger

I have always enjoyed songs about homecoming. There is something special and emotional about coming home. And returning home can hold a number of meanings: returning to your childhood home, returning to childhood home or even the future we all face in moving from this life to the next.

The difficulty is this life is when we experience a untethering from our sense of home. Our sense of home means we feel like we have a place in the world. However, through hardships and tragedies we can feel displaced. For some of us, this comes through losing our physical home. During these seasons it is easy to feel vulnerable and afraid.

Homecomings are essential to life because they keep us grounded. However, our sense of home does require a physical space. If we think about a good home, one of the essential ingredients is a place where we feel a sense of connection and belonging. It is a place in which we feel safe. And this is a invitation given to all of us in the presence of God.

Take a moment to recall those places where you have felt a sense of belonging. Is God offering an invitation in this season to come into His presence and experience a sense of home? Also, as I speak to homes, I would also encourage you to be aware of some of the issues surrounding Yorktown and the question of Eminent Domain. I recognize this may be a contentious issue, but I would urge you to look into this issue and ask good questions to make sure that everyone in our community can feel safe in their home.
 
Pastor Peter Curts

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Wilderwander

And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

-Mark 1:11

And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.

-Mark 1:12

He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.

-Mark 1:13

Wilderwander

July is a season for journeys. Nestled in the middle of the summer, it is a time ripe for going on adventure in the midst of the pleasant summer warmth. We pack our bags to go somewhere, anywhere, to take a break from our daily grind.

The book of Mark starts with a bang. Jesus meets John the Baptist, is baptized, and is affirmed by God as the beloved son. Then, in a dramatic fashion Spirit of God drives Jesus out into the wilderness. It a place where Jesus will be tested by Satan. I separated the verses above because I found them to be three series of dramatic events: blessing, driven out, tempted.

I think this is a helpful reminder about blessing. Just as God the Father had a deep love and connection with Jesus, so to we are the ones loved by God. And just as Jesus was affirmed and then immediately driven out, so to we are sent out. In other words, being loved by God does not guarantee a life of comfort and safety in a backyard hammock. We are the ones who boldly go into the wilderness. Yet, never forget that you are beloved. Even in the face of trial and temptation know that God is well pleased with you.

May you know joy and love in the midst of your July journeying. May you step in a lively manner (as those legs allow) into the place that God is calling. And in the scowling face of adversity may you know the warmth of God’s gaze directed in your direction.
 
Pastor Peter Curts

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Fresh Sea Air

“Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with that there is”

― Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

― The Gospel of Matthew

But the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

― Book of Habakkuk

 

It sounded like a good idea. Enticed by the prospect of fresh sea air and fish large enough to tell the grand children about, we entered the boat. We would come back as heroes of the ocean, saltier for our toil. Did not Jesus command salt to not lose its saltiness?

A problem that no one could foresee came from a gentle source. Back and forth the boat gently swayed. It was on one’s fault. But there was a mutiny on board and our stomachs commanded us off the ship.

Do you think the great mariner-apostle Peter ever struggled with sea sickness? Perhaps not on literal water, but when Jesus commanded him to take up a different sea and fish for men did he ever experience the nausea that comes from a tilting landscape? I think so. How else can you explain Peter’s denial of Jesus to a little girl? The landscape was wavering up and down and Peter, not knowing what else to do desperately desired to get off the boat.

But all was still well. Peter, who walked on water, eventually got his sea legs. Stumbling with the little girl, as he also stumbled during his first walk on the water, Jesus set Peter back on his feet with the command to go and fish for people.

We are all commanded to go and fish for people, but what do we do when we get sick from a tilting landscape? Iron stomachs come through trusting the one who can calm stormy waters. As you step into the boat of August go fish for people. Love your neighbor as you love Jesus. And when you get sick thinking about all that you don’t have consider thinking about all the good you can through God’s Spirit.
 
Pastor Peter Curts

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