Riding a bicycle is a spiritual discipline. We could take the subway; we could take a car. But no. We gear up, putting on base layers, balaclavas, and booties. We stash that spare change of clothes, taking over bathroom stalls and emerging like superheroes. Riding a bicycle is a spiritual discipline. And all of you should be praised for the decision you make every day to live more sustainably, move more freely, love more deeply. You know the deep joy of life on a bike.

And yet, for as much joy as there is in riding a bicycle, there is so much struggle. We see a secret Boston, missed in a car or on the train. We see the same guys living outside through this cruel winter and then suddenly gone. We see the foreclosed houses and the lonely people. We see accidents, and crime scenes, and roadside memorials.

We take this time to name that which lies heavy on our hearts each day as we take our bikes on the road. I will end each petition by saying "Holy One." Please respond by saying, "Hear our prayer." Let us pray:

Present in a world groaning under the excesses of consumption, we acknowledge the inherent goodness of non-motorized, human-powered transportation and give thanks for the simple beauty of the bicycle. Holy One, Hear our prayer.

Present in our community filled with children and adults, we pray for those learning to ride. Keep them smart, safe, and visible on our neighborhood roads. Holy One, Hear our prayer.

Present in a community filled with strife, we pray for the victims of road rage and bike theft. We ask for the strength to forgive mean people. Forgive our impatience. Holy One, Hear our prayer.

Present in a world of work, we pray for those who build, repair, and clean our bikes and those who rely on bicycles to earn their living. Bless the Boston Cyclists Union and all who advocate for a more just and sustainable future. Bless those who choose not to drive and those for whom driving isn't even an option. Holy One, Hear our prayer.

Present in a community of beautiful diversity, we ask your protection and blessing on all who ride: pedi-cabbies and weekend warriors; commuters and messengers; Freds and roadies and Hubway tourists; the old and the young; biking believers and questioners; and all who take to the Boston streets, paths, parks, and hills. Keep us safe as we ride. Holy One, Hear our prayer.

Let us hold a moment of silence for all who have died in Greater Boston while on bicycles in the past year, remembering __________________.

And those who names are known to God alone. May God comfort all who mourn and restore the broken-hearted. Holy One, Hear our prayer. Let the people say, Amen.

Laura Everett in Holy Spokes: The Search for Urban Spirituality on Two Wheels