A Blessing of the Bicycles

House for All Sinners and Saints' 4th Annual Blessing of the Bicycles (all photos courtesy of Amy Clifford)

Urban biking is not without peril.  Many of my parishioners rely exclusively on human-powered transportation and do so while competing for road space with motorized vehicles.  As a way of acknowledging the inherent goodness of God’s gifts of life and health and the humble but elegant bicycle we decided to conduct a Blessing of the Bicycles for the entire Denver cycling community (this is the 4th annual!).

This event was open to all regardless of religious affiliation, race, creed, color, sexual orientation, fat or thin tires, and brand of bike. We even welcome unicyclists and Unitarians. As we swung our thurible of incense over the Schwinns and Cannondales we do so as a human community seeking God’s blessing and protection for all who brave our city streets on two wheels.

And the wheel was lifted above the people...

We began our Blessing of the Bicycles with a reading from scripture

A reading from the Prophet Ezekiel:

When the living creatures moved, the wheels moved beside them; and when the living creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose. Wherever the spirit would go, they went, and the wheels rose along with them; for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. When they moved, the others moved; when they stopped, the others stopped; and when they rose from the earth, the wheels rose along with them; for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

Holy wisdom, Holy words. Thanks be to God.

 

Blessing of the crutches and canes.

We moved then into the prayers and blessings, but not before also blessing other things that aid human-powered transportation: crutches and canes!

 

Aspersion with handle bar tassels.

Let us pray,

 

Present in a world groaning under the excesses of consumption we acknowledge the inherent goodness of non-motorized human powered transportation and give thanks for the simple beauty of the bicycle. God of life, Hear our prayer .

Present in a community filled with children we pray for those learning to ride. Keep them smart, safe and visible on their neighborhood roads. God of life, Hear our prayer.

Present in a community filled with strife we pray for the victims of road rage, and bike theft.  And we ask for the strength to forgive mean people and jerks who cut us off in traffic. God of life, Hear our prayer.

Present in a world of work we pray for those who build, repair and clean our bikes and those who rely on bicycles to earn their living.  Bless those who choose to not drive to work and those for whom driving isn’t even an option. God of life, Hear our prayer.

Present in a community of beautiful diversity we ask your protection and blessing on all who ride; Pedi cabbies, weekend warriors, athletes, homeless folks, students, children, eco-warriors, bike co-op anarchists, messengers and all the others who take to the Denver streets, bike paths, parks and mountains.  Keep us safe as we ride. God of life, Hear our prayer.

We now observe a moment of silence for all who have died while riding…God of life, Hear our prayer. AMEN

A thurible made entirely out of parts from a vintage Schwinn. (Thanks to Humble Walk Church in Minneapolis!)

Now receive this blessing and bless one another by repeating each phrase after me as we bless you with water and incense:

May the road rise to meet you…..  May the wind be ever at your back.  ….May all your journeying be joyous. …. And until we meet again ….may God hold you…. and your bicycles….. in the palm of God’s hand.

Go in peace and safety.

Amen.

We followed the blessing by a group ride around the neighborhood, returning to church for some pizza, red velvet cake and a keg of Fat Tire Ale. A free community party!

Group ride around the Park Hill neighborhood!

 

pizza, red velvet cake and Fat Tire Ale!

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About Nadia Bolz Weber

I am the founding Pastor at House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado. We are an urban liturgical community with a progressive yet deeply rooted theological imagination. Learn more at www.houseforall.org


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