Pastor Mark’s Devotions, May 28

“Ride On”

“Sing to God, sing praises to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds –                                                   his name is the LORD, Yahweh – and rejoice before him.” Psalm 68:4

This morning I went on a ride with James and Jon. Two other disciples of Jesus rode along as well.       

No, I was not dreaming, my gluteus maximus is clearly telling me that this ride was real. James reached out to me earlier in the week and invited me on a motorcycle ride. Three others heard about the call. No, it was not Peter, Andrew, and Bartholomew. Rather, they were, brother Bruce, Dave and Jon. So, we 5 disciples met on Thursday at 8 a.m., and rode off from the church.

As we rode away, Jon took the lead. He knew the way. We were going to ride the backroads to Bellingham. We had been on these roads before but not since last summer. It was a beautiful morning. This was my first ride of the season. We rode up Chuckanut Drive (State Route 11) and it was as if we owned the road. Not another car was seen on that entire stretch of pavement. The quiet twists and turns under the canopy of trees was awesome. A cool breeze accompanied us the entire way. We had been this way before, so it was fun to relive the familiar view. We stopped at Starbucks in Fairhaven for coffee. After the break, we talked about the route for our return trip. If I had led, I would have simply returned the way we came. But as we left the parking lot, James took the lead. He took a left at the light.

We went under the freeway and suddenly, for me, we were riding in unfamiliar territory. I had not been on this road before. At the top of the hill, we rode past Lake Padden. The road opened up and twisted around a hill and down into open country. James led us along the south end of Lake Sammish, through Alger, passed Avalon and brought us back into Sedro Wooley. I’ve lived in this area for over 12 years, but this was the first time down this small stretch of road. As we entered back into familiar territory, brother Dave rode up alongside me and declared, “THAT WAS FUN!!” To which I couldn’t have agreed more.

The familiar roads are enjoyable. But today, I was reminded how enjoyable the unfamiliar road can be a well. The key is appreciating the ride for the sake of the ride – and sharing that ride with the people you care about.

Back in the day, Jesus went on a ride with his 12 disciples. He rode into Jerusalem for the sake of the ride. And yes, he cared about his disciples. The crowds were singing and shouting, “Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord.” This was a familiar road. Jesus had entered Jerusalem many times before. He knew the pavement. He also had entered towns and villages to excited and exuberant crowds. But after a rest stop on Thursday in an upper room; after food and fellowship, and drink, and much more, Jesus was about to ride down an unfamiliar road. For the moment, Judas would take the lead. He would leave the parking lot and take a left at the light. For Judas, this left would lead him to destruction. For Jesus, it was an unfamiliar road that would lead him to the cross yet lead us to salvation. He had been destined, forever, to ride down this road. For a few days, this road would test Jesus to his limits. But through this most difficult pain and ride of suffering, the road would open up for others who would come behind him. These followers would experience the ride of their lifetime! Jesus’ disciples would continue to ride down unfamiliar roads. Some stretches filled with enormous joy. Other stretches fill with great challenges and suffering. But they all knew the meaning behind the ride. They also knew that they did not ride alone. They rode with the love of their Savior, and the power of the Holy Spirit. They rode together. They also were willing to share that road with whoever wanted to ride along.

Soon, we will be allowed to get back on the roads. We all will not be riding motorcycles, but we will be returning to familiar experiences and memories. We will ride these roads, taking deep breaths and appreciating more fully what we all once had. We will realize that we have taken much too much for granted, and recognize that our days can be fleeting. But, let us not just ride down the familiar roads. If Jesus leads, He will inevitably take us down unfamiliar paths as well. He will take us places that we have not been before. He will lead us through twists and turns so that we can more fully appreciate the ride. He will show us beauty that we have never experienced before. And yes, at times, he will reveal some sacrifices that will have to be made, and that are necessary to travel that road.

Once you experience the glory of the open road, it continues to call you back. And that beckoning will include both the familiar and unfamiliar.

I look forward to continuing our ride together – perhaps it is a road less traveled!

Hey, James and Jon – thanks for taking the lead on our bikes! I’ll follow you guys any day.

God Bless You All,

Pastor Mark

P.S. – As this devotion was forming in my head during our ride. This familiar hymn continued to ring in my ears. I want to share it with you today.

Ride on! Ride on in Majesty!

  1. Ride on, ride on in majesty! Hark! All the tribes hosanna cry.

O Savior meek, pursue your road. With palms and scattered garments strowed.

  1. Ride on, ride on in majesty! In lowly pomp ride on to die;

O Christ, your triumphs now begin. O’er captive death and conquered sin.

  1. Ride on, ride on in majesty! The winged squadrons of the sky.

Look down with sad and wond’ring eyes, to see th’approaching sacrifice.

  1. Ride on, ride on in majesty! Your last and fiercest strife is night;

The Father on his sapphire throne, expects his own anointed Son.

  1. Ride on, ride on in majesty! In lowly pomp ride on to die;

bow your meek head to mortal pain, then take, O God, your pow’r and reign.