On a bike…

In the summer I ride a bike quite often. I say, ‘in the summer’ because I’m not quite committed enough to ride my bike in the cooler seasons. I ride my bike when it’s convenient and comfortable to ride.

My city is full of people who ride their bikes as a primary form of transportation. Many of them ride or walk everywhere… all year long. They do so for many different reasons… some motivated by economy, others ecology and still others physical health.

A man named Paul rode his bike everywhere. He had long hair and appeared quite rugged. He was a bit eccentric, but caring and warm. I met him at a local food ministry that uses our church facilities. They serve free, hot meals every weekday and many of Four Rivers Church’s people serve and give there. But I also saw him at our church worship experiences, and as you can guess… riding his bike around town.

A few weeks ago he was in a fatal accident where he and his bike were hit by a car.

He lived for about a week, but in the end it was obvious that he would not recover. His body was to be cremated and taken to another state where some distant family members lived. You see Paul had no family in our town. He was alone. Or so I thought.

A few of us decided to give Paul a memorial service at the site where Paul ate his lunch with 200 of his closest friends every day. When we did, the local news media helped us tell his story.

This memorial service was such an amazing experience. The impact from one life was wide spread. I hope that my life impacts people in such a broad way. We heard stories from the librarian who allowed him to use a computer, the check-out clerk at a local retail store where he purchased his groceries, and even the mechanic who kept his bike in running order. Everyone seemed to be impacted by him.

They told stories of his eccentricities. He liked sweet potatoes. Apparently, he liked them a lot. He also spread wisdom about flax seed oil, garlic and other natural healing agents.

In the end, the truth is I didn’t know Paul well. But I wish I had. And being a part of a church and a food ministry that would give an ‘alone’ man a memorial service made me proud of Jesus’ work in us. Thanks.

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