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Earth Day Blessing of the Bikes

God sent us awesome sunny weather after days of rain, so everyone was eager to get outside this Earth Day. About sixty folks met outside right after our regular Common Meal, with full bellies ready to ride around the parking lot (and draw with chalk and talk and…). The kids were really into it, which just made it swell. We had a volunteer bike mechanic, local press sent a photographer and reporter, and we got started painting our rain barrel for the library’s rain barrel promotion campaign. All in all a success! I sure love being at a place where the congregation is willing to roll with the punches and try out this zany idea of mine!

Inaugural Festivity held at Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren, Elgin, Illinois – 22 April 2009

Liturgy by Pastor Audrey deCoursey


As we gather today, the words of the prophet Jeremiah ring in our ears:

“Thus says the Lord: I brought you into a plentiful land to eat its fruits and its good things. But when you entered you defiled my land, and made my heritage an abomination… Be appalled, O heavens, at this, be shocked, be utterly desolate, says the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and dug out cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns that can hold no water.

“Return, faithless Israel, says the Lord. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, says the Lord; I will not be angry forever… Return, O faithless children.” (Jer. 2: 7, 12-13; Jer. 3: 12b, 14a)

We confess that too long, humans have decimated the land and distanced ourselves from our Creator God. North American lifestyles have been particularly destructive.

But today is a day to celebrate solutions. We join with millions of people around the world, all celebrating ways that can return to right relationship with our Creator, in their own local communities.

Here, we have chosen to lift up the modes of transportation we have come to rely upon, and use this Earth Day as an opportunity to recommit ourselves to safety and sustainability in this one important facet of our lives.



Blessed are the bicyclists,

who travel as commuters or for pleasure, who harness human energy and ingenuity to power their travel along roads and trails.

Blessed are the pedestrians,

who feel the contours of the land under their feet with every step.

Blessed are the bus and train passengers,

who ride shoulder to shoulder with strangers who become brothers and sisters on their daily journeys.

Blessed are the motorists who drive with care and caution,

showing mercy to their fellow travelers on the road.

Blessed are the truck drivers, the train conductors, the bus drivers,

whose daily labor connects us with new resources, new places, and new communities.

Blessed are you when you breathe fresh air, drink clean water, observe blossoming flowers, and yearn to create a world where every person can share in such delights,

for you shall be called children of God.




Creator God,

please watch over each of us, your people.

Empower us to honor the legacy of Earth’s abundance

that we have inherited from our ancestors.

Help us to build communities that are safe and healthy

for every one of the beings you have created.

Inspire us to envision societies that will sustain life

for generations to come.

We place our faith in you, God,

not in our own power to control or exploit.

Tonight, O God,

please bless the bicycles brought to this place.

May their riders be kept safe;

may they be strengthened in body and spirit;

may their lives further reflect commitment

to stewardship of your Creation;

and may the wind that blows in their hair and faces

ever remind them of you.

Please shower your blessing on cyclists across Elgin,

throughout Chicagoland, and all around the world.


Psalm 19 declares,

“The heavens are telling the glory of God;

and the firmament* proclaims God’s handiwork.

2Day to day pours forth speech,

and night to night declares knowledge.

3There is no speech, nor are there words;

their voice is not heard;

4yet their voice* goes out through all the earth,

and their words to the end of the world.”

Go in peace, and listen.

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