Tag Archives: spinning

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. while spinning

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today is Dr. Martin Luther King day and when I woke up, I was not sure how to honor it.  I had planned to go into the church for scheduled meetings, but unsure if the holiday would truly register for me.  Prior to coming into the office, I went to the YMCA to do a group cycling class.  I expected a large crowd due to the holiday, however there were only three of us, including the instructor Sara.  

As she started the class, she told us that she had selected all the music, centered on MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech.   Some of the songs had only a vague reference to it, but others, like U2’s Pride, were a direct reference to Dr. King’s life of service.   Then, as we neared the end of the workout, she played for us a portion of the speech.   The three of us kept spinning as we listened again to the familiar cadence of Dr. King’s preaching.   One sentence stood out,  “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”  That hope still resonates for me.

What also struck me during this workout was how simple a testimony this instructor gave by her selection of songs and  the speech.  In a simple, caring way she integrated her witness to Dr. King into her daily life as an instructor.  I was impressed and thanked her for that simple act of honor.   I don’t think I cycled any better than usual because of that act, but my heart was a bit lighter and joyful.   The C in YMCA stood out.

Have you found ways to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr?

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Getting Into It — Part III

The rain today drove me inside.  My friend Tim and I have been trying to get together all week, so finally I suggested that we meet for a spinning class this morning at the Woodbury YMCA.  I had attended only two previous classes, each time with Tim as my guide.   Naturally I was late getting out of the house, but I still minded the speed-limit as I drove to Woodbury.  I rushed into the locker room expecting to see Tim ready to go.  But there was no Tim, not in the locker room or the hallway or Studio 1.  

Tim's bike during the workout

As people pulled out cycles for the class, I pulled out two, expecting Tim to show any moment.  I tried to remember the instructions Tim gave me on how to set up my cycle for the best workout.  I kept looking at the door, expecting Tim to show.  But as the instructor began to start the class, I shifted my attention from Tim’s absence to my participation.  Soon I was “getting into it,” pushing my heart rate into my aerobic workout zone.  It was a good class.

As I reflected after the class, I think my experience is similar to newcomers at a church or Bible Study or prayer group.   We have an interest or curiosity, but we often need an invitation or guide to help us enter the new experience.   A friend, co-worker or neighbor invites us to worship and we sit with them during our first visit.  We closely watch their behavior, not wanting to do something embarrassing or upsetting.   If we enjoy it, then we are open to going back, perhaps with our guide.   Eventually we go on our own, comfortable in our knowledge that we can fully engage in the workout or the worship without our guide.  

As I walked out from the spinning class, I felt energized and also thankful that I can do the class by myself.  I called Tim to find out what had happened.  He misread the e-mail and thought the class was this afternoon.  We still need to get together for our weekly conversation.

Romans 14:1 Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions.

Have you ever been a guide for someone’s new experience?

Spin Class or Worship Newbie

Spin Class Bike

 A couple of weeks ago, my friend Tim invited me to a spinning class.  Usually when I go to a fitness gym, I work out by myself.  I use a treadmill or an elliptical machine for my cardio workout and then some weight machines for the strength portion. I like having my own routine and control as I work out.  A fitness class always seemed a bit too structured and I did not want to look foolish to the other participants as I learned the routine.

Tim encouraged me to come anyway. He assured me that it would be a fun and a new challenge.  He told me to bring a sweat towel, water bottle, and my bike shoes; he showed me how to adjust the bike to my body; and he introduced me to some of the regulars in the class.  He and the instructor told me that I could adjust the workout to my abilities and not to expect perfection immediately.  As the class progressed, I discovered that I needed to relax and simply “flow” with the others, taking breaks as I needed them.  By the end I was enjoying myself.  Last night I went back for my second class with Tim.   Now I feel ready to go to a class on my own, though I still plan to “spin” with Tim.

I think many people approach their first visit to a congregation for worship in a similar way.  They wonder if they will do or say something wrong.  They fear that they will not be welcomed nor helped if needed.   It was the encouragement and assistance of my friend Tim that made my first class a positive experience.   In the same way, it is the job or call of each regular worship attendee to welcome and assist the newbies at worship.   What I especially appreciated about Tim was not only the invitation to the class, but the willingness to assist me in my first class.    I pray that I can be as hospitable when I invite someone to worship at Resurrection. 

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.  Hebrews 13:2

Have you had a memorable first time worship experience?