Five of us, self-named the “The Gray Hogs,” rode to Yellowstone National Park and the Black Hills of South Dakota in late June, 2011. The hair color of Jerry, Mick, Brad, Dave and I certainly had earned the term gray, and a photo taken later Aspen caused my wife to remark that we’d all been hogs more than once in our lives.
The Black Hills have a danger of their own, and not just from free ranging buffalo. Various temptations afflict me, and a sign before a curve telling us to slow to 35 proved too much. I downshifted my Kawasaki Vulcan and goosed the throttle a bit as I leaned in at about 60, reveling in the balance and stability of my new bike.
Just as I balanced the sharpness of the curve, my speed, and the proper angle of leaning, another bike came through the curve toward me, with his left hand held out down low in the biker’s wave. Some hold their whole hand out, others the forefinger, others the first two in a new version of the old peace sign. But on the open roads, most do something.
However, returning the wave would change the dynamics of my bike, adding a level of risk on the turn. Not returning it would violate the biker’s code. So, I waved. Carefully, with some adjustments. But I waved.
Bikers vary. A lot. Some are sold on one model; others ride anything on two wheels. Some have done it for decades, while weekend riders cruise to the local doughnut shop on Saturday morning. And we find every level in between.
But we’re all bikers, united by a love of wind in our faces, the lure of speed, an appreciation to be in the middle of nature, not insulated in a steel cocoon. A unity that transcends the significant differences many of us have.
How well do we followers of Jesus live up to that example? Or do we, like some riders, play the lone wolf, always on a solo trip? Or, do we get exclusive, and stay with our brand of faith, and ignore all others?
I grade other believers on the type of bike they have (how close to me are they doctrinally?), I grade them on how often they ride (are they as committed as I think I am?), on how clean they keep their bike (have they ignored some spiritual issues?).
That’s wrong, if I allow it to interfere with my unity with them. Yes we have differences, and some are exceptionally important. But if we share Jesus, we need to have a visible unity.
Let’s kick start this discussion.
What attitudes do you have that work against unity with others? What have you done to enhance it? What can you do, this week, to build more unity. Or, what will be your “wave” to a fellow follower?