A Bicycle and Jesus

by Abraham Cremeens

It was warmer and more humid than I like. Endurance races crave a cool, brisk morning. I never get to choose such preferences, though. My bike was ready. Breakfast and coffee were digested and ready for fuel. A text came through, “When you enter the track, head straight and slightly to the right. I have our race packet.”

As I entered the interior of the two mile track there was a flurry of activity. Bicycles, of course, were everywhere. Music rang loudly over several speakers. A breeze hit my face and, for the present, the sun was shrouded behind clouds. I found our spot on the north side of the track. A large canopy and tables were already in place. Generous amounts of food were present. I set my bike on the rack, dropped my bag, unfolded my chair, and offered a “Good times!” to the rest of the Kossuth crew. We all settled and prepared for the start of the race just an hour away.

I smiled as I looked at our team. It was an eclectic group. That tends to be the case with church folk. Thirteen of us from the Kossuth family agreed to a pain fest like no other: twenty-four hours of bike riding through the heat of the day and darkness of night. Sometimes the wind helped; often it hurt. We offered cheers to one another from 10:00 am on Saturday through 10:00 am on Sunday. I needed those cheers as I became sore in places I didn’t even know I had. I would do it all again tomorrow.

During this endurance adventure, we covered 838 miles together. We contributed $2,300 to the total $126,000 raised for Court-appointed special advocate (CASA) volunteers. It was a win.

I have reflected quite a bit since the race concluded (and after catching up on sleep). I have completed several endurance races over the years. This one was special. It was more than a race. It was a work of God. We called ourselves Team Kossuth, and it was another unspectacular yet supernatural moment in the life of our church. Wherever the church goes and whatever the church does, God is there in the midst. Ordinary becomes extraordinary in his hands.

God knit three threads together in what will forever be known as CASA 2021. For one, we love bikes. Every major brand was represented: Specialized, Cannondale, Trek, Giant, and more. These trusty aluminum steeds brought drool and stopped the eyes from blinking. We had that in common with the hundreds of others participating in the race.

We also targeted a worthy cause. CASA is a big deal. We understood that all too well. These individuals volunteer countless hours to think only for the child. Many parties are represented when DCS gets involved. There are a myriad of emotions, and everyone has to think through multiple layers. It is daunting and complex. The CASA says, “I will focus on this child. No one else matters in this equation.” From our personal experience as foster parents, our CASA was and remains vital. She was a champion in the ring and a hero no doubt. It was a worthy organization to receive over $100,000. We were glad to work with hundreds of others toward that goal.

But I saw something of even more weight than bikes and a good cause. As valuable as these are, Christ and his church are greater still. I was proud of Team Kossuth, both our larger church family and this smaller cluster of thirteen. What brought this eclectic group together to ride sleepless through the night? Jesus did.

It is a reminder that being God’s children on mission with him isn’t as complex as we often make it. God is served at the intersection of passion, gifting, and the pursuit of making his name great wherever we are and in whatever we are doing. Can an endurance bike race be an act of worship to God? Yes. 

It could just as easily be knitting and Jesus, cooking and Jesus, or coffee and Jesus. There is an entire highway system of life that delights to intersect with Christ. The main pitfall is seeing these things as "other" or apart from him. All things exist for him and only make sense in him.

So, you are welcome to join us next year. There is plenty of time to train. But if an endurance bike race is not your idea of a good time, then look at what tends to fill your calendar. There is something there that longs to find its home as worship to the living God. Watch your ordinary become extraordinary in his hands.