Fifty Harleys and a Funeral
I remember Brother Chuck S. describing his Harley-Davidson to me. To Brother Chuck, the bike had a distinct personality that he, as the rider, strove to understand.
Brother Chuck had a distinct personality of his own.
A fiercely faithful member of our branch for as long as I can remember, Brother Chuck always rode to church on his hog. If I sat in a pew behind him, I'd see his long ponytail braided neatly down his back, which was always clad in his black leather motorcycle vest, with the words "Sober Pack" emblazoned across the shoulders in orange letters.
During Sunday school, it was not uncommon for Brother Chuck, who was fluent in Greek and Hebrew among many other languages, to point out a translation nuance that added depth to our discussion. During communion, he'd stand next to the piano and play — of all instruments — a dainty flute. He loved classical music.
The guy defied stereotype.
Brother Chuck didn't look like anyone else in our branch. He didn't act like anyone else in our branch. He had a totally different style. And that was OK.
His "difference" allowed him to help people. For example, I remember him begging us in a youth class not to drink, relating his turbulent years as an alcoholic and then his triumphant victory over the addiction. He had a rough upbringing. No silver spoon. But he had an amazingly positive outlook on life, and he regularly shared and affirmed his faith in God with his club brothers.
After his cancer diagnosis, it didn't take long for the Lord to take him. There were at least 50 Harleys at his memorial service (this article's feature photo was taken outside the church building), and there were dozens of testimonies given by similarly leather-clad, road-weary, life-beaten brothers who knew and loved him.
It was interesting to see the "church people" mix and mingle with the "bikers." Like a converging of two cultures.
One of the bikers told Brother Jim H., who helped officiate the service, "You know, pastor, usually when I see a guy like you in a suit, I walk in the opposite direction. But I liked what you and the other guy had to say." (The "other guy" was Brother John D., who also officiated.)
If I learned anything from Brother Chuck's life, it's this: No matter how different my style might be from someone else's, we can find common ground in Christ.
Brother Chuck drove a Harley. I drive a Toyota sedan.
I'm a people person. Brother Chuck was an introvert.
Brother Chuck loved music. I'm tone deaf.
We were never exactly close friends, but we were brother and sister in Christ, and we treated each other with love and respect. Just because we are the body of Christ doesn't mean we all have to look alike. Does an eye look like a foot? No matter how different our style, the important thing is that we stand on the same foundation.
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This article has undergone ministry review and approval.