I like the 'practice of pedaling' as a metaphor because I have been a long distance bicycler in the adult years of my life. I haven't done much the last couple of years, and at the end of this week I am going to attempt the Habitat 500 ride. 500 miles in a week is a bit intimidating at this time of life, with not a great deal of time to devote to preparation. The longest ride so far I've done is 40 miles - but I tell myself if I can do forty I can do sixty. We'll see! I am comitted to riding and I hope to ride all 500 miles. But the 'practice of pedaling' says it all because in order to do a longer ride, I have to practice on shorter rides. It's kind of like the Christian life - in order to make it in the long run we need to build a base of faith and study of Scripture now that can sustain us when the going gets rough. We hope to be successful in the Christian life, but there are simply no guarantees because we are human and I have seen so many whose faith seems impenetrable fall prey to things they thought themselves incapable of. It's good not to fool ourselves! So, we practice faith as we practice many other things in life. If we fail there is always redemption, reconciliation and the ability to begin anew. God doesn't give up on us no matter how much or how often we might give up on God! If you study scripture from cover to cover that is the overriding message - God's faithfulness. So, as I ride those 500 miles this next week my plan besides pedaling (a lot!) is to pray. I have a whole list of names in my congregation alone of people that are going through difficult things; cancer, treatments, surgeries, relationship issues, divorce, and many other things. So as I pedal and pray I will be seeking God on their behalf - to give them strength, courage, perserverance, patience and peace. The 'practice of pedaling' could possibly become a spiritual discipline!