Jesus Without a Bicycle Helmet

Driving to work late one morning my head was filled with thoughts about church, about conversations, about seats that were empty that I wish were filled, about a finance email that detailed facts about lower income, about some challenging stuff happening. Some days I use the wrong measurements, and as a result feel ordinary, not extraordinary. I think perhaps many of us wish we measured up to something different than we think we do. This was one of those days.

I had not read @ScottSauls tweet yet, but it is needed. He wrote: “What if success was no longer measured by our accomplishments but in terms of humility, thankfulness, wonder, a life of love and being faithful in the ordinary stuff of life.”

Amen, Scott!

So, I was just driving. I’d prayed. I’d written out my gratitude. I’d read Scripture and a devotional I’m using during Lent, and it was time to head into the office.

As I drove, I passed a young man on a bicycle without a helmet. My first thought when I see anyone riding without a helmet is “Oh man, get a helmet!” and then I think of this young woman, daughter of Joann Corrao who at 19 had crashed while riding her bike without a helmet, and ended up brain damaged. When I met her at 21 she knew she was disabled, would never work, could not comprehend school. Her life had changed forever.

So, I thought my helmet thought: ‘Get one!’ and drove past glancing back and realized that it might be a guy I know named Malachi.

Malachi is 18, the oldest in his blended family, has already spent time in jail, in detention, away from his family for most of a year to live with relatives; high school has not been an easy path. Now at 18 he’s a cool guy and pulling his life together.

Malachi and I had not talked for the longest time, but after I had pulled into the parking lot at the church, to my surprise, Malachi pulled in behind me.

I jumped out to greet him as he rode up, a big smile on his face. “Hey Brian,” he said, “I saw you and thought we hadn’t talked for a long time so stopped.”

“I’m so glad you did,” I responded. “So, what’s happening in your life?”

He is seeking to finish his schooling, hopes to graduate this year, and might enroll in a summer work program.

He asked me, “how’s the church going?”

The list of complaints, I had been rehearsing went through me. I mentioned that there are some factors that are challenging me but it’s going ok. I told about the cool Lenten season we were having. That he asked, that he was curious about my life touched my heart.

Then I asked him, “How are you and Jesus doing?”

He told me he waffles between faith and doubt but doing better. What was obvious to me by the way his eyes shone, was that faith was triumphing!

We talked further and I asked if I could pray for him. I did. When I finished he looked and said “That prayer will bless my whole week.”

Meeting up with him did the same for my day and week.

I walked away realizing that on that day Jesus, in his Malachi form, had ridden up without a helmet. And my life wouldn’t go back to what it had been.

How is Jesus showing up for you? He’s alive…

About Camino Way 2016 Shimer

On August 22, 1981 I married this wonderful woman, Karen, who has consistently blessed and changed my life and days. We are still in love, all the more with the years. We have four daughters, two sons by marriage, and three delightful, wonderful grandchildren. So, that makes me a husband, father, and grandfather all in those sentences. But mostly just a guy who loves my family. Today Karen and I planted beautiful plants in numerous pots. She had come home with the plants and that experience reminded me how much I enjoy simple things and simple pleasures -- like digging in dirt to plant a flower, like sunlight through glass on a spring day, like clean windows -- just washed ours today -- like a melody that won't escape from my heart. I've been a local church pastor for 30 years as of this June, a number that staggers me for I feel about that age on the inside, but clearly that's not the case. Back in 1988 I graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary with an Mdiv-- a time of schooling that has been a foundation for years of ministry. But it is mostly in the building upon that foundation, that has most changed my life. I love people, love seeing Jesus work in people's lives. One of my favorite joys is to pray with someone through some horrible place of memory and see Jesus walk right into their memory world, and turn on the lights in a way that sets their soul free and brings healing. There's nothing like this privilege and I have been there to watch it happen more times than I can count. Between 4 and 7 the associate pastor of my family's congregation sexually abused me, first grooming me, then repeatedly violating my young self. This marked my life. It changed my bearings. It ripped at my faith. It wounded my image of what it meant to be a little boy, and later a man. It has been a point from which I have been in the process of healing for many years now. I'm a survivor, but more than that, I am one who lives beyond what was done. For in the middle of all that stuff, Jesus was calling me, speaking to me, bidding me to follow him to bring change to people's lives within the realm of the very office that was used to harm me. Only Jesus can make light from darkness, hope from despair, and healing from brokenness. I love Jesus. He really is alive, no matter what others may believe. And his life, his presence, his words into my world, his healing power have continued to be the foundation point of what it means to experience life to the fullest. I love writing. I don't really know why on that score for really writing has never been a central tool in my world, nor has it come easily. But I love seeing how words released heal. And I love the way words can connect me to other people's worlds. So, that's why I started blogging. It began because I was planning to blog on a weekly basis when I went to walk the Camino de Santiago last fall. And in order to be able to blog while walking, I knew I had to begin to practice blogging before I was in another country. A friend told me that. Friends are good to help us find ways to live more authentically into our daily lives! So, I started. But what I have discovered is there is something powerful about sharing the story of life with others. So, I have continued. And I love the connections being built through those words. In 2011 I experienced my first seminar in Simply the Story, a bible story telling method that involves those listening in discussion and I decided then -- "this is what I plan to do when I retire." But really-- "why wait until then?" -- so I use this method while I continue pastoring. It sets people free and allows the Word to take root in ways that preaching never has. So again and again I am practicing asking questions and that is good practice for me, because I am frequently better at "telling" than "asking." This has been such a freeing gift. I love training others in this skill. So, a storyteller would certainly be true of me too. Years ago I discovered my mission in life is "the joyful transformation of people's lives through the person of Jesus Christ." And that continues to be where I find my home base, in joy. Where there is joy, I find, there is Jesus, and there is the possibility of transformation. Of course Jesus is in places where there is no joy as well, and once He is there, the place kind of changes because of Him. I love that.
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2 Responses to Jesus Without a Bicycle Helmet

  1. Jans email says:

    Thank you for this message. It encouraged me so much. I appreciate your honesty and transparency. God just shines easily through you and I praise Him for what He says! Love to you, Jan H

    Sent from my Windows 10 device


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