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Archive for December, 2013

At year end there is the usual reflections on the year just past and hope projected to the year upcoming. It has become tradition to lament the failures of the year and try to recall some successes, too. I feel some reflection must also go to what we have given.
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Here’s a thought: to all those who like to point out just how intolerant Christians are, how unwilling they are to compromise their beliefs to suit others’ opinions – you are still alive, aren’t you?

Christians are extremely tolerant, because they do not see those who oppose them as enemies. Those who follow Jesus Christ see all humans as family. Families differ and may have arguments, but they are still family.

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He threw a leg over the bike and sat in the saddle. He was a bit nervous. He could feel the weight as he balanced the bike between his legs. He leaned a bit to the left and right, adjusting to the weight. It seemed a lot heavier than he imagined it. He could manage it. He took the key and put it in the ignition. His mind went immediately to all of the things you used to do. After looking around and realizing those days are done, he pulled the clutch lever and checked the gears were neutral. The fancy, high-tech gauge had a big “N” in the middle. He did a quick mental ‘hmmf’ and turned up the corner of his mouth without thinking. “That makes it easy,” he said to no one in particular.

“It sure does,” piped in the salesman. He had forgotten about the sales guy.

“Technology, unh?” And before the guy could say anything, a little push with the thumb and the bike rumbled to life. He grinned. He could not help it. Something ingrained made him pump the throttle a few times. The injectors removed the need to prime any carburetors, but it was fun to do and sounded great. A quick, natural move of his foot and the big “N” on the speedometer became a “1”. He pulled the throttle back and loosened his grip on the clutch handle a bit. The big bike began to roll forward. A little more throttle and a lot less clutch and he was rolling.

The salesman was saying something but the vibration and the sound of the bike throttling up stole all of his attention. He rolled out, into the street, and gave it a lot more throttle. He felt the vibrations of the motor increase along with the satisfying roar coming from the tail pipes. Clutch – click – roar, he cycled up the gears to a cruising speed. It was satisfying.

The wind around the windscreen barely buffeted him. The windscreen was in the right placement. Still, he could feel the air rush past him as he cut through it. The weight of the bike at first was a concern for him. Now it was a calming assurance. He was not a light feather to be pushed around by any car or truck that came by. It was all very satisfying.

The large tank and wide saddle made the center of the bike seem more stable. The handle bars were adjusted to his reach and liking. The large tires were a throw back to the “bobber” cruisers from old black and white photos. He didn’t mind that at all. They touched more of the road than those skinny tires did, and he liked the look. That is all that mattered. The engine had all the horses and torque you could want; probably far more than you would ever need. He accelerated a bit to get a sense and feel of the power he had in the bike.

He had no real plan for where he was going. In fact, he had no plan at all. He rode away from the dealer. Stopped for the red lights. Rolled through the greens. Watched for impatient drivers through the yellows. He went to one side of town, chose another street, and went to another side of town. He stopped some place and got a burger for lunch. He sat near a window to eye his bike until lunch was over. It roared back to life as he got comfortable in the saddle. He shifted with his toe, and he was off rolling down the street again.

He had barely used any gas. The big 5-gallon tank was an inducement to go ride a long way. He had not decided what was next. He was not sure which way to go. He began to think through his options. He knew the highway was out. It was a 3-lane ribbon that cut through town that became a 2-lane river that fed into the city where it became a twisting network of multi-lane super-highways where the biggest danger was a driver not looking out for anyone; especially a motorcyclist. He chose instead a 2-lane, narrow county road that led out-of-town and into the unincorporated, rural areas between the towns. It was a good opportunity to ride slight curves and bends in the roads, to see farms swish past, and trees become and endless blurs of greens and browns. The large rural route mail boxes would swoosh as he rode by them. There was nothing around him except for the sounds of the bike, the vibration of the engine and the road, and empty 2-lane road.

In front of him was an old 2-lane stretch of highway. There was no destination. There was no place to be. There was simply the ride. After so many years, there it was again. Like an old friend he missed and thought he had lost. There was simply the wind and the ride. And so he did.

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“The Spirit of God is upon me…” God told Isaiah this is what the Messiah, the anointed salvation of God’s people, will say. Jesus read this section in the scroll of Isaiah, after he had returned from his baptism and the desert. He sat down and all eyes turned to him. He said, “This scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” John quoted Jesus, “You see the things I do. You can do these things and greater.” (Chapter 14) The Messiah came to fulfill several roles. One of them was to walk in the Spirit of God. Another was to give that back to Man.

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