When our oldest daughter, Jillian, was about 5 we bought her a bicycle. It had a really cool color scheme of turquoise and white, and of course it had training wheels. Jillian is super smart and could read by the time she was 3, but bicycling was not an interest. Despite our best efforts, she never rode that turquoise and white bike. The bike sat until Jillian outgrew it, and we eventually donated this brand new, dusty bike to Goodwill. It wasn’t until she was around 10 or 11 when all the other kids in the neighborhood were riding their bikes and going places that Jillian wanted to learn to ride a bike. The other kids had the freedom that a bike gives, and Jillian wanted that too. But the thing is, no matter how many books on bikes and bike riding you read, it still doesn’t teach you to ride a bike. We had to buy Jillian a bigger bike, this time one without training wheels because Jillian was too embarrassed to use them. We spent a number of hours (without any other neighborhood kids around!) trying and falling, before Jillian pedaled her way confidently down the sidewalk.
I think our spiritual journey can be a bit like this too. Reading the Bible, classes, and study are really important to following Jesus and learning about “the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement,” as Presiding Bishop Curry calls our Church. But at some point in our spiritual journey, an intellectual approach to following Jesus isn’t enough. We are called to get on that spiritual bike and ride it.
A way we can do this is to walk with Jesus this week. Walk into that Last Supper on Thursday (7 pm) and let Jesus wash our feet. Wait awhile with Jesus Garden of Gethsemane. Watch the kangaroo court trial. Walk alongside Simon of Cyrene as he carries the cross. Hear the nails being hammered in. Weep at the foot of the cross on Friday at noon. Sit at the wake Friday evening (7 pm). Watch in wide eyed amazement as the light of Christ is brought back into the Church Saturday evening (8 pm).
I invite you to ride your spiritual bikes through Holy Week because following Jesus isn’t just something we read about - it’s experiential.