February 19, 2018

By Rev. Dr. Paula Ferris, Fullerton First UMC, East District

Proverbs 3.6 (The Message)

Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.

Some years ago, I spent six days in May amid the delights of our country’s capital. I’m told that the 4th of July is the best time to be in Washington DC, but Memorial Day was pretty good, too!

All over DC were motorcycle clubs. They filled the Mall with the roar and smell of their engines. Every square inch of parking was crammed with motorcycles of all shapes and sizes, gleaming with pride and care.

Many of the riders had hats or t-shirts identifying themselves as Vietnam and Iraq vets. Mostly, they just looked like bikers: lots of black leather, ponytails, tattoos and faces that had seen a lot of sunshine. I could see they were here for fun, but why so many on Memorial Day?

My hosts explained that this was “Rolling Thunder,” a motorcycle club with chapters all over the United States who support an unusual cause. Rolling Thunder’s mission is MIA/POW (Missing In Action/Prisoner of War) awareness. Memorial Day is their traditional time to make their presence known in our nation’s capital.

The National Mall is full of fascinating museums and buildings (The Library of Congress–WOW!). Every billboard and lamppost advertised Memorial Day concerts and mattress sales. But, it was the bikers who touched me, that spoke with the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus calls us to attend to the least, the last, and the lost. MIAs and POWs are out of sight, off the media radar, and largely forgotten. I was moved to know that somebody (a whole lotta somebodies, by the look of it) was remembering.

Our country has so many invisible, but vulnerable, populations: child sex trafficking, human slavery, foster children who have aged out of the program. How do we care about or care for those whom we seldom see? How do we remember them?

As a follower of Jesus, noticing the invisible and remembering the forgotten is something I am called to do. On that Memorial Day, a motorcycle club helped me do it.

Prayer: God of Remembering, thank you for the many ways your voice comes to me. Keep my ears open. Amen.