Thursday, April 7, 2011

Today I Rode a Bike...

Today I rode a bike. I can't remember the last time that I rode a bike...maybe my college years, which I won't disclose how long ago that was. But today, I "rented" a free bike from my place of work, and took a lunch-time ride. As my feet hit the pedal and my legs went round and round on a beat-up beach cruiser, my face lit up like a little girl who just learned to ride for the first time.


I was the only one riding through campus with a goof-ball grin on my face, waving and shouting greetings to all the other bike-riders, sure that they were as elated to be riding as I was. My legs pedaled faster as I dodged pedestrians and the old metal frame clanked with each rotation of the wheels. Onward I cruised, until I had arrived at a nearby neighborhood, and the ghost of what once was.

My destination was an old school, used by the city school district for many, many years, now abandoned due to budget cuts. The clanking frame came to a quiet halt as I reached the corner of the fenced off playground, as one approaching hallowed ground quiets the soul to listen for whispers from the past. And I stood at the edge, wind and whispers blowing through my hair, echoes of ghosts and dry bones laughing through the air.

An empty school is an eerie sight. Unnatural and unnerving. If walls could talk...but even they have been silenced and no ear wanders its lane to listen for tales of little people and growing minds and hearts being formed. And so the walls moan and shift and creak in the stillness of absence. Paint peels down that which was once covered with little hands creating masterpieces, and the playground can no longer be called as such, but merely ground held together by fading structures.

And I begin to pedal again, feet pressing in as heart presses on and begins to weep, hoping the wind will wash the tears away, but it full of laughter and echoes and all that once was. It is noontime. Children should be playing here. Youthful chaos should fill the air. Balls should be bouncing and swings dancing high. But there is only the whistle of the trees who are left to wonder where all the people went.

Pedaling still, pushing down as I circle the block that makes up the now-empty school, play yard, and jungle gym. Circling and pedaling, praying for new life, circling and canvasing the area, covering it in prayer, crying that this path around the land will be claimed, a fire of passion set on this trail, blazes go up to mark all that is within it as hallowed, sacred, set apart for the divine.

Holy. Ground.

with endless possibilities.

There is a community of believers who desire to live out this Jesus calling, who desire to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ through loving, merciful acts of devotion to each other and to the city, and the nation, and to the world.

And it starts here.

We are asking to be made uncomfortable, for comforts welcomes rot and spoil. We are asking for lessons in love and mercy and grace beyond what we are able to do, beyond what we are able to handle.

We are asking You, Jesus. Your kingdom come. Your will be done.

You have given the vision of a community center that reaches deep into the lives of the people of Tucson. Open the doors, Father, and make us uncomfortable, that we may find comfort and strength in you alone, that we may operate outside of ourselves. Give us guidance and wisdom, that it may all be for your glory.

Circle the block one more time. My eyes see the silhouettes of children, short and tall, light and dark, running and squealing. Vegetables are growing tall and baskets are being filled to overflowing. Needs are being met, and there is plenty left over. New life has been breathed into these dry bones, and the hollow echo of death has become the hallowed ground of Life.

Today I rode a bike, and I worshipped my Creator, and my heart beat happy all day long.

Will you pray with us, please, as we seek the Father's wisdom for a community center in mid-town Tucson? As proposals are created and grants are being requested, please pray with us, for the gift of Faith in all things? For patience to wait on His plan, and the obedience to act when doors are opened.

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