Awhile back, on the way home from work, I heard a story on NPR about Bikers Against Child Abuse.
An adolescent girl who must testify against her stepfather can stand on the courthouse steps and listen to the gathering thunder until a dozen Harleys swarm into view and search for parallel parking. Men and women dismount wearing combat boots, blue jeans, black leather vests, silver chains, braided beards, and sun-bleached ponytails. They are thick in chest and thigh, with gray-green tattoos creeping from their shirtsleeves. They rally around the girl and escort her into the courthouse. They answer her phone calls and come when she feels threatened. They have all passed criminal background checks.
As I waited to merge onto the I-184 interchange, why did I suddenly feel like a disciple on the road to Emmaus? Why did my heart burn within me? What was I longing for?
The members of Bikers Against Child Abuse operate on a simple principle: predators prey upon the weak, and bikers bring strength. When a victim is in need, the only thing members have to do is show up. And yet, they're more fat than muscle, and they come without guns or knives. Their strength is only in numbers and reputation. They shower in the morning and put on their strength in so many layers: hair, clothes, chains, bike, noise.
I knew why I burned inside: I was jealous of the palpability of their strength. And I was jealous of how easily that strength was directed to those who needed it.
Someday, when the fatherless are in need, we won't need to call a session of elders, or start a fund, or write a book. We, the members of the Church, will just show up. Someday the hum of our Hondas and Subarus will portend the overthrowing love of Christ. Someday the slap of our sneakers and loafers and flip-flops will cause predators to back into corners and cross themselves. Someday the faith in our eyes will seize whole cities with holy fear as at the demise of Ananias and Sapphira.
But for now, I suppose motorcycles are easier.