Here’s some words (five hundred to be precise) that came to me yesterday morning while I contemplated going to church or going for a long cycle ride. I have been given a challenge by Cycling Weekly to cycle one hundred miles in September. This will be my longest ride ever. At my current average speed for long rides, not allowing for stops, this would take eight hours.
© Kelvin M. Knight, 2022
Faith is like riding a bicycle. Once you find your balance and put your trust in it, you are away. Those early journeys are always energetic and full of fun. Then you begin to believe you can go further, faster, which is when the potholes appear. There are other obstacles on the road, little ones you weave through, big ones you have to stop at, smile at, work out how to manoeuvre around them or over them, before continuing on as if those obstacles never existed.
Sometimes the biggest obstacle is when the road leads uphill. Hills often feel like mountains. That’s when your faith causes you to sink into prayer as you rise from your saddle. You don’t pray for a light as a feather bicycle, with wide ranging gears, that costs an arm and a leg, you pray for renewed strength and vigour. Your pedals spin. Your moving speed may be slow yet in those spinning moments you feel connected to God in a way that makes the hairs dance up and down your back. Faith and love can move mountains, can move you over any mountain.
At the summit you look around at the amazing scenery and feel humbled. Minutes later, you are whizzing wildly downhill. You are smiling contagiously. You cannot help but shout out pleasantries to every motorist you see. Some look at you as if you’re mad. Some make rude gestures at you. One even aims their car at you, punishment passes you as they hurl abuse out of a cracked open window.
You pray for those motorists. Praying for yourself is the same as going on a solo ride. Praying for others is the same as going on a group ride. You can go much further and faster riding in a group. Every Sunday you go on the longest group ride. You ensure that ride is done for charity. There are so many worthy charities – local, national, and international – mountains of hope needed by mountains of people. You have faith in God though, faith that He will help humanity work His purpose out, through you and through others. Others with faith and others without faith.
Faith, hope and charity. A holy three. A blessed three. Three in one. Like riding a bicycle. Three points of contact: the pedals, the saddle, the handlebars. If anyone of those three wasn’t present, there would be no movement, no balance, no direction.
Realising you are heading in the wrong direction, you turn around. Sometimes faith leads you up the wrong road, or into a blind alley. There’s always something to learn when you are blinded by wrongness, though. Experiencing the road from a different perspective, seeing the road from another’s perspective, is how heaven will flourish on earth.
This realisation makes you ring your bicycle bell like it’s a church bell. A pedestrian grins at you. A dog walker waves at you. A lorry driver gives you the biggest thumbs up. You open your mouth and sing.