Blessing of the Bicycles

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Photo credit: Bayne Stanley

By Laurel Dykstra, Salal and Cedar

On May 29, Salal and Cedar and Fossil Free Faith organized “bike to worship week” and a blessing of the bicycles. Below is an article written by Laurel Dykstra for the Diocese of Westminster. Following the article is the order of service and intercessions.

Vancouver’s Christ Church Cathedral has a new bell tower but the bells ringing in the 120 year old church on May 29th were attached to the handle-bars of bicycles. With sacramental chrism oil, bicycle chain oil, holy water and prayers, Anglican Bishop Melissa Skelton, two priests, and a United Church Minister blessed bicycles, transit passes, and a host of people who are making an effort to reduce the environmental impact of their commute to worship.

While light from the stained glass windows colored their faces, a congregation of about twenty-five listened to a passage from Ezekiel about the prophet’s vision of a wheel within a wheel and they prayed for the safety of cyclists, fossil fuel divestment and the victims of climate disasters and wars for oil.   Led by a cross and banners and the bishop with miter, crozier and cope, cyclists and pedestrians processed out of the church to a hospitality station on the street where they offered coffee, snacks, bike maps and “ride-by blessings” to commuters on the bike route outside.

“Climate justice is core to my faith but cycling to church is not just transportation; it’s meditation, the real beginning of my worship,” said Chris Boyle, United Church Minister and organizer of the divestment group Fossil Free Faith.

Organized by Fossil Free Faith and Salal + Cedar, an Anglican environmental church, the event was a kick-off to the Faith Commuter Challenge. In 40 communities from Halifax to Vancouver, faith groups are celebrating their care for creation and logging their trips by bus, bike and on foot to places of worship. Environmental engagement seems to be taking hold in religious and spiritual organizations.   People of faith across Metro Vancouver have been raising their voices against the proposed Kinder Morgan Pipeline, and the expansion of other fossil fuel projects, citing a religious responsibility to be better stewards of creation. All of these actions are in line with Pope Francis’ controversial encyclical released two years ago, Laudato Si, in which he calls for the economy to be restructured around a moral obligation to tend to the earth and to one another.

Find out how you can participate in the Faith Commuter Challenge.

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Photo credit: Bayne Stanley

BLESSING of the BICYCLES
Salal + Cedar and St. Brigid’s

GATHERING: TERRITORIAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Presider:      May God be with you
All:                 And also with you
Presider:      Let us pray,
All:                 Grant us the wisdom to care for the earth. Help us to act for the good of future generations and all your creatures. As we bless this water help us to protect and care for the waters around us, the Fraser River, the Salish Sea.
Presider:      In the name of the Creator, Christ and Holy Spirit.
Amen.

 SCRIPTURE

Reader:        A reading from the prophet Ezekiel:

As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, one for each of the four of them. As for the appearance of the wheels and their construction: their appearance was like the gleaming of beryl; and the four had the same form, their construction being something like a wheel within a wheel. When they moved, they moved in any of the four directions without veering as they moved. Their rims were tall and awesome, for the rims of all four were full of eyes all round. When the living creatures moved, the wheels moved beside them; and when the living creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose. Wherever the spirit would go, they went, and the wheels rose along with them; for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. When they moved, the others moved; when they stopped, the others stopped; and when they rose from the earth, the wheels rose along with them; for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people.

All:                 Thanks be to God

PRAYERS

In response to each of the prayers we answer together:

Hear our prayer.

 BLESSING THE OIL

Presider       Heavenly Father, 
you anointed your Son Jesus Christ
 with the Holy Spirit and with power 
to bring the good news of your kingdom.
 Anoint your Church with the same Holy Spirit, that we who share in his suffering and his victory may bear witness to the gospel of salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord,
 who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Presider:      Our help is in the name of the Lord,
All:                 The maker of heaven and earth.
Presider:      Blessed be the name of the Lord,
All:                 From this time forth for evermore.
Presider:      The blessing, mercy, and grace of the One Holy and Undivided Trinity, be upon you and remain with you forever.
All:                 Amen

As the bishop moves out among the bicycles to give individual blessings, please use your bicycle bells to make a joyful noise to our God!

Intercessions

Let us pray,

Present in a world groaning under the excesses of consumption we give thanks for the goodness of human powered transportation, for the simple beauty of the bicycle.           God of life, Hear our prayer.

We give thanks for all those who cycle, walk, bus, carpool as a way to be mindful of and caring for your creation and we ask you to bless them and keep them safe.
God of life, Hear our prayer.

We pray for children and those learning to ride. Keep them smart, safe and visible on their neighborhood roads.
God of life, Hear our prayer.

We give thanks for those who labour. We pray for those who build, repair and clean our bikes and those who rely on bicycles to earn their living. We pray for bus drivers, transit operators and all those who work for and in public transportation systems. Bless those who choose to not drive to work and those for whom driving is not an option.
God of life, Hear our prayer.

We pray for rural health care workers in Mozambiqe and elsewhere in the world who use bicycles and bicycle ambulances to visit and to transport their patients.
God of life, Hear our prayer.

Present in a community of diversity we ask your protection and blessing on all who ride; Athletes, commuters, homeless folks, students, children, eco-warriors, bike co-op anarchists, couriers and all the others who take to the streets, bike paths, parks and mountains.  Keep us safe as we ride.
God of life, Hear our prayer.

We pray for those who challenge our dependence on fossil fuels. Those who look for ways to divest from extraction industries, those developing and investing in alternatives. We pray especially for those who are locked down now at the Kinder Morgan Westridge Marine Terminal in opposition to the Trans-mountain pipeline.
God of life, Hear our prayer.

We give thanks to the leadership of Indigenous people who have been adamant in their protection of creation, and their right to free, prior and informed consent to whatever happens on their land. Here we are grateful for the Musqueam, Tsleil Waututh and Squamish. We remember especially the Secwepemc who are meeting this weekend and give thanks for the Standing Rock Sioux who galvanized a movement.
God of life, Hear our prayer.

In a world that is often filled with strife we pray for the victims of road rage. We observe a moment of silence for all who have died while cycling, for the many lives lost to wars fought for oil, those who are collateral damage in the brutal policies of extraction industries—particularly of Canadian mining companies, and for those who have lost their lives in climate change storms, floods and disasters…
God of life, Hear our prayer. AMEN

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