The motorcycle diary

Biker Blessing at Cottonwood Park

“Reno” Rick Eckhardt of the Soldiers for Jesus introduces Pastor Randy Siever at Sunday’s Biker Blessing held at Cottonwood Park.

“Reno” Rick Eckhardt of the Soldiers for Jesus introduces Pastor Randy Siever at Sunday’s Biker Blessing held at Cottonwood Park.

Photo By D. Brian Burghart

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And the rain fall only on the fields.
May your pipes warn those around you.
May the rubber side always be down.
May your leathers endure for a lifetime.
And the road ahead clear, wide and free.
May you discover God in the journey.
May you feel him strong in the wind.
May you sense his joy in every curve.
And his love without limit or end.
Until we meet again.
May God hold you
In the hollow of His hand.

Pastor Randy Siever of Doable Evangelism modified the traditional Irish blessing to bless about 150 bikers at the annual Biker Blessing. The gathering was held by the local chapter of the Christian biker club Soldiers For Jesus MC.

There was some beer and lunch to consume under the cloudy Northern Nevada skies. Occasionally, the sun would peek through, adding a few degrees to the slightly coolish day. On the brighter side, the promised rain stayed solely on the fields, and a Modesto-based Christian blues band, Sonhouse, played on.

The congregation was dressed primarily in black leather and blue jeans. Clubs like the Branded Few, Iron Nation, Longrider Cowboys, Boozefighters, Hell’s Angels, and others were represented.

Siever began the blessing with a few words followed by a moment of silence during which people called names of people who died in the last year: “We participate in a very dangerous sport. We lose somebody every year.”

“Lord God, we lift up those who have gone, and we trust that you are holding them,” the pastor said. “We remember them today.”

The motorcycle-riding pastor followed the short prayer with a story from the Bible, which was basically the Luke 5 story of Simon Peter’s conversion. In short, Jesus was preaching on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and the crowd, in its desire to hear him, forced him to the water. He got into Simon’s boat and spoke to the crowd. A bit later, he asked Simon to row out to the deep water and put the nets in: “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.”

Despite the time of day, Simon and his partners James and John caught so many fish, that the nets began to break and the boats were nearly swamped. And that pretty much ended the partners’ fishing careers: “Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.”

Siefert drew a parallel between the fishermen’s willingness to follow Christ on the spur of the moment and the congregation’s opportunity to follow the spirit when called.

“Peter became someone pretty substantial because he chose to follow Jesus that day,” the motorcycle-riding pastor said. “The kingdom of God is near you today. God is especially fond of you just as you are. … He’ll change your life. He’ll change your life. It could be the start of a whole new life for you.”