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The Rev. Susan Sparks The Rev. Susan Sparks
The Rev. Susan Sparks is a former trial lawyer who now serves as senior pastor of Madison Avenue Baptist Church in New York, NY.

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American Baptist Churches USA

Representative of:

Madison Avenue Baptist Church, New York, NY

A Blessing of the Motorcycles

May 13, 2010


          It's spring.  The air is soft.  The trees are in bloom.   And God's creation is filled with the chirping of sleepy Vespas and the roaring of Harley Davidsons waking up from their winter hibernation.  

          We here at Madison Avenue Baptist Church honor this seasonal ritual.  Yes, some of us ride.   Of course, so did many of the ancient ones of our tradition.  Who could forget Elijah: "a hairy man, with a girdle of leather."   (2 Kings 1:8)

          We bless the motorcycles this Sunday, not only to honor those who ride, but because it reminds us to sanctify everyday life.   It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that the only "holy" time of the week is Sunday at 11am.  At best, we spend about an hour a week in this ritual. 

          That is a 1/168 ratio of "holiness" to "life."  

          Not so good.

          Today we remind ourselves that it is not just worship where God is near.  It is in the daily grind of life:  at work plowing through piles of reports and messages, at home trying to establish some -- any communication with our teenager, in the line at the unemployment office, at the doctor's office waiting on test results, or on a 2005 black cherry-colored Harley Davidson Road King with bored out cylinders and custom pipes.  It's all holy. 

          In the book of Matthew an angel foretells the birth of Jesus, calling him "Emmanuel," meaning God is with us.  And that's what this ritual attempts to remind us.  We are all beloved children of God and when we leave the sanctuary, God does not remain behind.  God follows and protects us down every sidewalk, carpeted office corridor or back country road on which we may travel.  

          Join us this Sunday (if not in body, then in spirit) to bless the bikes and sanctify our daily journey.

          May you keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down.  




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