Some of you may already know that before living in North Carolina, I was born and raised in Western New York. Think 2 hours southeast of Buffalo near the Pennsylvania border. I still have family in the area and so about every two years, we have been spending a week in the summer at Allegany state park for a camping trip where we stay in rustic cabins (meaning no plumbing) and just enjoy the great outdoors in between visits with family.
Part of the outdoors is the wildlife of course, and sights of deer, turkeys, foxes and raccoons are common. There are also plenty of black bear. They draw a lot of attention when they are seen, and so they stay out of sight pretty well but we have seen them numerous times around the cabins. I love seeing them, and I've only been scared by there presence twice.
I love to mountain bike. The combination of exercise, technical challenge, and speed in the outdoors is just perfect for me. In Allegany, the closest thing that there was to mountain bike trails, in our early trips, were the cross-country ski trails. On my first ride on these trails I was zipping along a downhill section that turned into an old fire road, so it was wide and fast. Suddenly, I hear crackling of branches and brush. Startled, I turn to my right, where the sound was coming from, and I can saw the movement of the thicket that had grown at the road's edge. It was big whatever it was. I maneuvered to the other side of the road as I was still going pretty fast and I'd rather speed by than stop. Once I realized that whatever was there had gone the other direction I stood up on the pedals to look over the thicket and as the forest is old I can see a long way. I see the back side of a bear running away. I was scared, but the bear was more scared! So cool. My heart rate is starting to come back and what an experience.
I went back to traveling down the hill, and then a sinking realization came over me as I thought about the picture of the map in my head. It dawned on me that this trail turns back up the hill to the right, the direction the bear just ran, which I had scared. I was riding back to camp so I could go back the way I came. As I traveled up the hill I could barely maintain a walking pace, and there is lots of thicket including blackberry bushes. Now I'm very nervous. I'm slow, and there were lots of places where I might accidentally sneak up on a bear. Since sneaking up on a bear is the worse thing you can do, I start walking the bike and reciting lines like "hey bear, go away bear, I'm not gonna bother you" (I saw this on a hiking show). I don't think I've ever been more scared in my life. I had to keep telling myself, "That bear is a long way from hear by now." That was likely true but it was hard to convince my heart. I would have been more comfortable knowing where the bear was by seeing it.
That's probably how the disciples felt in Biblical text for this Sunday. John 6:16-22 tells us of the disciples in a boat, struggling against a raging wind on the sea in the middle of the night, when they saw someone just walking out toward them. They were afraid. They didn't know who or what this was. It was certainly not normal. It was a fearful situation, but tomorrow as we worship together, we will see how Jesus answered their fear, and how he addresses ours. I look forward to worshipping with you Sunday!
493 Centre St., Jamaica Plain
Charter Membership Class March 11
Mosaic JP is beginning official church membership! We will have our first membership class March 11 at Pastor Ivey's house. If you're interested in membership you can come to the class and learn more about what being a member of Mosaic means.
Good Friday Service March 30, 6:30 PM at Tremont Temple
This year we're going to join with others churches in the city to focus on Good Friday. Join us at Tremont Temple as we remember the sacrifice of Jesus.