Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Practicing Resurrection

Are you kidding?
You gave up your car for Lent?
Are you crazy?

That's what people have been asking me. For the past five years, I have taken a Lenten vow to quit driving my car everywhere. I try to put more miles on my bike than my car. I do this for my health, the community's health, and the health of the world. People question my sanity, but as a chaplain at a mental hospital, I know the difference between "hearing voices" and "listening to a still, small voice."

Here is what I do: I fill up my tank on Ash Wednesday and try to make it all the way to Easter on one tank. I ride my bike to work as often as weather and schedule permit.

This annual experiment in reducing my fuel use increases my health, and the health of the world. My bike is much more than a way to get from point A to point B--it is nothing less than a vehicle of physical, spiritual, and
cultural transformation!

When I get up in the morning and throw my leg over my bike instead of turning the key in my car's ignition, I am aware of the good I am creating. The ride to work becomes a passionate means of connection to the cosmos. I'm not some religious zealot, treating my body with contempt either by indulgence or privation. I'm an instrument of peace, quietly spinning out healing strength into the universe. With every pedal stroke, I get closer to the Earth, and closer to resurrection. With each mile, I become more aware of the sacred around me, allowing it to pass through me and back into the world. What could be better than that?

Lent offers us a time to do things a little differently. Why not choose something that helps everyone?

As Wendell Berry has said:

As soon as the generals and politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

The Reverend David Dillard is a Psychiatric Chaplain at Central State Hospital in Louisville, and a member of the Jeff Street Baptist Community at Liberty


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