("Riding With the King," by John Hiatt)
Today I took my cue from John Stilgore and rode my bike for couple of hours down through neighborhoods, on the greenway by the creek, by the shopping mall and behind a commercial strip, under bridges and over highways, just loitering my way through a beautiful Spring-like Winter day. I figure biking through town, or walking, is a way of laying claim to a place, of taking possession of the land --- a shadow of the Land God will bring us too, but if I cannot go slow and love this land how can I love that Land?
I'm making mental markers as I go --- a turn here, a bit of broken pavement there, a relatively ancient maple tree by a house that obviously preceded suburbia's advance on this place. On a particularly busy stretch, I'm passing people, little bits of conversation floating my way: "I need to live closer to you, because. . . . What I mean is. . . . The problem is. . . ." It's an interesting sensation to pass through unconnected conversations, like opening a door into a little world and then dropping it shut before you take it in. It gives you a sense that there is more to life than yourself, a helpful thing to know.
So many conversations seem to have to do with a sense that someone has been wronged, and so I am reminded that it is a moral universe I ride in. I think back to the devotion for today, a meditation on the ten "words" (commandments) and a reminder that obedience is important. I ride uphill and think of perseverance. I coast downhill and consider grace. I feel the wind and consider the Holy Spirit that broods over the world. The sun reflects from the leaves left on trees, and I consider how all of life reflects God's glory.
I'm coming up on an old teetering bridge, an ancient, and I wonder what farm families used this bridge all those years ago and what legacy they left. It reminds me of the communion of the saints, about our continuity with all those who came before.
Two elderly men are talking. A mother is walking arm and arm with her daughter. Honor you father and mother, I think.
Someone is having trouble with their bike. Do I stop and help? Love your neighbor.
I stop on a bridge and take a picture of the creek, and shutting out the surroundings, you'd never know that a huge shopping mall a road lie to each side of the creek. Things change. Old landmarks disappear. New ones appear. But some things don't change.
The wheels turn, saying love God love God love God. I'm riding with the King. Nothing is really ordinary. I'm riding with the King.
[The "40 Days On the Edge" posts are my ruminations in light of Stephen Smallman's devotional entitled "Forty Days On the Mountain," read in conjunction with Harvard Landscape History Professor John Stilgore's "Outside Lies Magic: Regaining History and Awareness in Everyday Places." Both books may be ordered by clicking on them where they are listed in the sidebar under "Current Reading."]