Sunday, June 6, 2010

2010 Oakland Beach Bike Blessing

God's plans survive minor (or major) setbacks. A good example was the second annual bike blessing at Oakland Beach (dubbed "CMA by the Bay"), sponsored by the Romans 8 Riders chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association.

With skies alternately sunny and overcast, the threat of rain or thunderstorms loomed large, and a strong wind whipped off the bay throughout the day. The unpredictable weather undoubtedly reduced the number of motorcyclists who would otherwise be out riding on a Sunday in June, but as our chapter president, Spike, said, God is in control and whoever is meant to be here, will come.

Last year's inaugural event featured vendors and Christian rock bands. Although the bands returned this year, the vendors opted out because of stricter requirements from the city of Warwick. Also, this year, the city failed to unlock the public bathrooms at the park. Nevertheless, a fair number of motorcyclists who rode the one-way loop around the beach decided to enter the park to get their bikes blessed.

As I did last year, I posted myself at the entrance gate to the park, waving at passing cars and trucks, and asking any motorcyclists if they wanted their bikes blessed. If so, I directed them inside the gate. I called my job title 'greeter,' but my girlfriend Anna, who stopped by to accompany me, said I was a 'fisher of men.'

"Go get 'em, baby!" she said every time a motorcycle approached.

I really like being a greeter at this blessing. Besides getting to listen to some great Christian rock, it feels good to be part of a team - Jesus' team. I have only blessed a few bikes, and it is something I want to do more of, but as a relatively new Christian, I figured at this event, I could best serve by bringing the bikes in, and letting my more mature brothers and sisters in Christ do the blessings and share the gospel of salvation.

Not everyone driving by shared my enthusiasm. Some bikers declined my invitation to get their bikes blessed, and some motorists ignored my friendly wave. Before I was a Christian, rejection would have bothered me, but not now. I approached my job with the attitude that God loves every person, and wants every person to be saved through his son, Jesus Christ. I was simply extending the love of Christ.

Anna and her 10-year-old son, Ricky, are getting bitten by the motorcycle bug, and it bit both of them strongly at this event. As much as Anna enjoys riding as a passenger on my Harley, lately, she has been talking about learning how to ride her own motorcycle, and today, she saw a Honda Rebel 250 she liked. The woman who owned it let Anna sit on the bike. "I can balance this!" Anna said.

Ricky tried on my helmet and goggles and, at one point, I caught him sitting on Bob Levesque's motorcycle, a Kawasaki. I wasn't sure if he had asked permission, but Bob said he had let him. Now Ricky is hounding me for a ride.

Some motorists and pedestrians slowed down or stopped to get a closer look or listen at what was going on. One man driving by slowed to a crawl, as the band, 4 A Cross, played a Pink Floyd tune ... perhaps the Christian lyrics threw him off.

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