The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Spirit-driven spokes

Congregations bless bicycles

House for all Sinners and Saints, Denver, is one of a growing number of churches to offer a blessing of bicycles every spring or summer. Parishioners are well aware that urban biking is not without peril, said Nadia Bolz-Weber, pastor. So she blesses bikes with holy water and incense.

Matthew Nickoloff and Nadia Bolz-Weber,
Matthew Nickoloff and Nadia Bolz-Weber, vicar and pastor of House for all Sinners and Saints, Denver, at a blessing of bicycles open to all "regardless of religious affiliation, race, creed, color, sexual orientation, fat or thin tires, and brand of bike. We even welcome unicyclists and Unitarians."

The street corner blessing begins with a reading from Ezekiel 1:17-21: When they "rose from the earth, the wheels rose ... along with them; for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels." Prayers follow (see "Bike blessing").

The "Blessing of the Bicycles" used at House for all Sinners and Saints is included in the 2011 Year A edition of Sundays and Seasons (Augsburg Fortress, Publishers), as is the "Blessing of Bicycles and Other Wheeled Things" from Jennifer Moland-Kovash, a pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church, Palatine, Ill.

Every Memorial Day weekend, All Saints blesses bikes, scooters and helmets or "any representation of what they ride," Moland-Kovash said. "We also ask for God's protection on those of us who drive, that we will see those on bikes."

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