I recently saw some amazing kids doing daredevil biker tricks on a ramp, under the watchful gaze of their parents and other adults. One guy could even do a somersault, at least one time out of every ten attempts! It was refreshing to see this controlled exuberance, because several times recently I have been troubled by the cocky and potentially fatal bravado of kids doing daredevil tricks under less controlled circumstances, weaving in and out of speeding traffic on similar bicycles. I was so stunned at one group of kids' recklessness. I sided with angry comments from nearby pedestrians who foresaw the potential for one of these street-rodeo bike riders to lose his own life and to bring shame and even legal penalty to the driver deemed responsible.
I couldn't, however, rest at the point of cursing the cyclists' thoughtless antics. While I admit that the thought "Bless them!" didn't immediately spring to mind, I didn't feel comfortable just remaining upset. As I walked along and thought back on what I'd seen, I began to pray. I yearned to see the cyclists differently, as governed by divine wisdom. I longed for some recognition of God's view of them, as His/Her cherished children. In the spirit of many Bible stories I love, I recognized that anyone making bad choices needs good thoughts, thoughts that reflect God's love for all creation. In God's eyes, everyone is truly a child of Deity and deserves to be - and is - blessed. So to whatever degree any of us isn't thinking and acting rightly, we need the forgiving, supporting love of others to help us rescue ourselves from the influence (and effects) of our own poor judgment.
One Bible story that points our thinking in this direction tells of Christ Jesus in dialogue with a group of religious leaders called Pharisees. These Pharisees got upset with Jesus for spending time with people whom they thought of as sinners. Most of those "sinners" probably thought of themselves that way, too. Jesus knew their need for reform, yet he wasn't just going to write them off. He was going to help them. He said to the Pharisees, "They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Mark 2:17).
In that spirit, I thought to myself that, although I had no practical way to find the kids and recommend better road sense to them, I could affirm in my own prayers that they, too, have spiritual intuition telling them of their extraordinary worth as God's good children and of their need to honor and express that by their attitudes and actions. I could pray to see that each one, as the object of God's great love, truly wants to be, and is willing to be, thinking and behaving in ways considerate to everyone. I could trust that the divine Love that cares for all is communicating wisdom to them and protecting them with penetrating guidance. In reality, children and adults are the offspring of God and are safe from harm because they are spiritual - created in God's image and likeness - and are therefore harmonious and indestructible. In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy - who founded this newspaper - wrote, "The inharmonious and self-destructive never touch the harmonious and self-existent" (pg. 300).
I hoped the other adults who felt outraged that day could come to similar prayerful conclusions. While far more distressing acts than reckless cycling have recently gotten "out-of-control kids" press attention - particularly copycat acts associated with MTV's "Jackass" - we can benefit all kids by holding the highest, most spiritually based hope and trust for them. We can recognize them as God-valued, God-governed, and God-blessed.
Mercifully, and it seemed miraculously, the particular interweaving of two- and four-wheeled vehicles I saw that day resulted in no physical mishap. I like to look back and think that indicates a blessed - rather than a charmed - existence for all those kids, and for the car drivers, too.
of the Lord shall dwell
in safety by him.