Most of you know that I have an extensive resume of roads travelled on a motorcycle: Iceland, Sweden, Norway, New Zealand and Australia, 32 states and every province in Canada. But most of you will not know that my first love was dirt bike riding – and it was all my father’s fault! He bought me my first minibike!
When I decided to start riding again in 2002, I really wanted to connect with that first love of riding in the woods through the dirt so I bought what was called a ‘dual sport’ motorcycle – one able to travel on both pavement and in the dirt. I formed the New Brunswick Dual Sport and travelled many of the trails and backroads of the Caledonia Mountain area – and fall was best time to ride: crisp air, leaves turning colour and no bugs!
It was to this memory I went this morning as I drove to the office… still feeling unsettled and uncertain because of the continued effects of the pandemic on our life together in community. It’s so hard to describe, it’s like the path forward is littered with ruts and stones, branches and stumps and I’m just barely hanging on uncertain of the ‘line’ to choose.
And then I remembered some of the important techniques for riding off-road: stand up, look where you want to go, keep a steady speed, stay loose on the handlebars, hold on with your knees and pivot on the balls of your feet.
Stand up and look where you want to go. Stay focused on the destination, the intended direction, focus on the mission and ministry, and by keeping a steady speed, balance is maintained, and the front wheel is less likely to drop into a rut, more able to pop up over the tree root in the path.
Most importantly, by staying loose on the handlebars, the front wheel is able to find a line, a path forward through the ruts. Keeping a steady twist on the throttle with a loose hand does not come naturally, it is in fact counter intuitive when your head is bouncing around and you’re being assaulted by branches – but it is critical.
Hold on with your knees and pivot. By standing on the pegs and squeezing the motorcycle with your knees, the rider, in a way, becomes one with the machine – grounded if you will, able to flex and navigate a way forward on a barely discernable path, fraught with obstacles.
So, if you see me standing oddly at the front of the church with my hands outstretched, pressing my knees together, pivoting on the balls of my feet, like I’m riding a motorcycle down a rocky root and stump strewn path, you’ll know I’m in one of those moments of trying discern a way forward for us in community.
Monday was a holiday and I spent it fishing for striped bass (with no luck). Tuesday was a full day of meetings and pastoral visits.
Today I have meetings this morning and this evening and three pastoral visits scheduled for the afternoon. Another very full day.
Tomorrow I’ll be working from home to craft a liturgy and sermon for our first Sunday Gathering in the Season of Creation at 11AM.
Friday and Saturdays will be days off.
Again, we will gather at 11AM on Sunday September 12th for our first Sunday Gathering in the Season of Creation.