Ready to Ride

“Repent and believe the good news!”  Mark 1:15

I recently took up cycling and it is a lot of fun. I had been a runner for many years but finally caught on that there was this clever invention called the wheel, which means you can go a lot further and a lot faster than by foot. Who knew?!

Riding is fantastic fun, except for two things. One is when you fall off. It’s a real downer. It hurts.

The other thing that ruins a good ride is a puncture. I recently returned from a long ride and, the next morning, discovered my tyre was flat. I discovered a tiny pin-prick in the tube, but I couldn’t find what caused it. I changed the tube, went for my ride, abut the next morning the tube was flat again! This cycle kept happening until I was on my fourth tube when my tyre went flat as I was out on the road. I was crankily changing my tyre when a man came along and asked how I was going. As I explained my run of punctures he asked if I had checked the tyre. I said that I had, but he asked, “Properly?” Together we turned the tyre inside out and I gently ran my hand right around it. Half way around I felt a faint pin-prick in my finger. That was it!  A tiny metal splinter was lodged in my tyre that was causing the punctures. It was so small I couldn’t get it out with my fingers. My helper asked for the tyre and put it to his mouth and removed the splinter with his teeth! It was only 3-4mm long, but that was what was causing all the trouble! I put a new tube in, pumped it up and away I went, and I’ve had no problem since.

That is a picture of the nature of sin. Sin hurts us and others. Sin damages our relationships. Sin separates us from God. Until we remove the sin through repentance and forgiveness, we will be continually affected by it. It slows us down, robs our freedom and destroys our joy. Just like a puncture. We can deny it is there, but until we remove it the sin will continue to hurt us. 

The good news is that Jesus takes our sin away. We can’t do it ourselves. If we are honest and admit our sin and our need for forgiveness, then Jesus sets us free. As long as we deny our sin, it will sit there causing pain and sadness for us and for others. 

In Lent, we remember that Jesus invites us to “Repent and believe the good news!” There is forgiveness for every sin, large or small, because Jesus has given his life to take our sin away. God bless you with repentance and faith in the good news of Jesus! 

Pastor Matt Wilksch, Springfield Chaplain

*This article is based on the Ash Wednesday Address