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Explorations in Just Living

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Welcome to the blog of the Enough for Everyone program of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). By "just living" we mean both justice-based living and just simply living – freeing ourselves from the clutter of stuff so we can focus on living faithfully and living well. Join us in the exploration!

About the Author
Bryce Wiebe coordinates Enough for Everyone, a ministry of the Presbyterian Hunger Program. He loves slow food and is fascinated by the way things are made.  He is excited to dive into experiments in simplicity with you.  His sacred cow of consumption: kitchen gadgets.

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September 21, 2014

A Cycling Meditation

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6If you put these instructions before the brothers and sisters, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound teaching that you have followed. 7Have nothing to do with profane myths and old wives’ tales. Train yourself in godliness, 8for, while physical training is of some value, godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance. 10For to this end we toil and struggle, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.


I have just completed day 2 of my biking adventure with the Presbytery of the Redwoods!  So far we have ridden 115 or so miles through some of God's most beautiful creation.  Along the way we have had plenty of climbs and a few nice downhills as well.  I've popped a tire, and coasted through the Avenue of the Giants, where the Redwood trees emerge from the Earth as straight as pencils, but nodding ever so slightly in the wind at their tops.  It strikes me a very ancient dance that they do; firmly planted and subtle.  They nodded to acknowledge us on as we sped through.  I expected it to be beautiful.  I didn't expect the beautiful to give us this blessing.


The passage from 1 Timothy chapter 4 has kept coming back to me as I've ridden.  They way Timothy is exhorted to keep teaching good lessons and connecting the people to the Gospel of Grace over the myths and fads of the time seem to be an always appropriate lesson.  But I haven't been thinking about exegeting the text.


Really, I've been thinking about physical training being "of some value".  There are parts of my legs reminding me that it might have been more than a little valuable to commit myself to a bit more physical training.  Though, as the miles begin to pass behind, I keep looking around at the riders who have taken on this challenge.  They have taken it on with varying experiences and abilities in cycling; one climbed on the bike two months ago for the first time in awhile, one is doing a multi-day ride for the first time, one has ridden thousands and thousands of miles all over the world.  Then there is me, who rides his bike to work most days, but hasn't found a cardio workout he couldn't skip since his High School basketball coach had him run lines until he threw up.


 The physical part has been taxing, but good.  So far, it has been good for all of us.  Climbing a hill, for all its pain, reminds those riding that we have these bodies, and that they can do many remarkable things.  There are many who will never ride a bike.  We connect and are present to our bodies as they strain and sometimes break down ever so slightly, reminding us to slow down and take care.  The riding roots us in our bodies, like the trees stretching their feet far below the Earth.  We riders are united in our physical training.


But the other part, for Timothy, is more important.  And the other part is what I have seen in those I have met here.  The fourteen other riders have committed themselves to this ride because they hear God's call to feed their neighbors who go without enough to eat.  They ride these miles with purpose and commitment to their sense of godliness.  Each push on the pedal represents some money for the food banks here, each dollar I raise goes to Hunger Program nutrition projects all over the World.  At each stop; for lunch and for night, we meet Presbyterians of every age, ability, and social location, from congregations as small as just 3 or 4.  They proudly show us their pantries, or tell us about the overseas mission they support.  They take us on the tour of their community garden.  These are all people knit together in their desire to train and teach toward godliness, which is valuable in every way.


The lessons I bring and add are a resounding "Amen" to their already good work.  As I speak to them about long-term relationship building, sustainable development, and supporting communities all over the world as they build a food system that supports local farms, produces nourishing food, and honors the workers and the creation entrusted to all our care, they nod along.  As I describe projects that promote godliness in the ways we help the most vulnerable, removing the impediments placed upon them by years of injustice and unfairness, their eyes glance to the sky and they nod along.  We nod along together recognizing the depth of the need.  It is more than any on of us can do, and so we will commit again to our training.  We keep training physically, for sure - our hardest push is Monday, but we will listen again for God's saving Word.  We listen and join the ancient dance.  We nod together, and reach out again to a world in need.


Blessings upon all of you,


Bryce Wiebe

Tags: bikes, bryce