Independence Day

As I move to my more permanent position as the Senior Pastor of Greeley First Christian Church, my Lyft driving has moved from 80-100 rides a week to maybe 15-20.  I will hit 4,000 rides sometime in August.  What this means to the Blog that I have come to truly enjoy, is that I am more on the lookout for something that we together might find interesting.  In these past six months I have tried to give you a sense of the enormous variety of people that I encounter when I turn on my app.  I had 15 rides on the 4th of July and I still made it home to view the fireworks from the rooftop of our 20-story building.

My first ride was a couple from Bismarck, ND.  They were delightful.  I picked them up at an Air BnB in the Baker neighborhood.  They were headed to Pete’s Kitchen on Colfax.  They asked me if I knew anything about it.   I said, “Best Greasy Spoon in Denver”.  They were so cute, (that is the only adjective I can think of).  They had their list of things they planned to do in Denver over the week.  I could have named them without looking (which I bet included Casa Bonita).  They were definitely ‘country mice’ visiting the Big City.  They began to ask me questions about Denver and my Tour Host took over.  By the time we got to Pete’s they had heard more about Denver than the average new arrival will hear in three years.  When they found out I was a pastor they became very honoring… (they knew church).  I suggested the breakfast burrito with green chili.  The young man lit up like the sky would be in just a few hours.

Later that morning I ended up in Littleton on Broadway.  I got a call to pick up a couple near a bus stop.  They had a name that I could neither re-spell or pronounce.  He got in the front seat and she got in the back.  They very quickly engaged in conversation.  They were from India and he had come to CU in Boulder to do a Master’s degree in a tech field that had something to do with applications.  I gave him my standard response. “I just want the damn stuff to work.”  He said in a very clear questioning tone, “So this is your Independence Day”. “Yes, we both share a common history which is that we were colonized by the British”.  He remarked, “I think yours went a bit better than ours”.  I said, “That all depends on who you are.  I am not sure that the Native Americans would agree”.  He thought for a long while and then said, “I never thought about that from their perspective”.  I said, “You are not alone”.  He told me some stories his grandfather shared about the British and their treatment of the Indian people.  It is not my intent to go on a rant, but suffice to say we all need to dig deeper into our history.  It is very messy.   They arrived at Home Depot and gave me a most kind ‘good-bye’ and then he smiled again and said, “Happy Independence Day” with a most knowing look.

I drove for a couple more hours and I was summoned to a brew pub on South Broadway.  So guess who was standing out in front… Bismarck.  They were smiling from ear to ear.  “Well hello Pastor Mark”.  The beers had made an already happy couple… well let’s say, very happy.  I took them to Union Station where they had an evening planned including a Rockies game and fireworks.  They told me about their day and what they had planned for the rest of the week.  It made me tired.   I dropped them off and they were more than grateful.

I drove home trying to soak in the complexity of what I had experienced in my red car.  I will admit this Independence Day I am a bit bewildered about where our country is.  The fireworks were beautiful, however, we have a lot of work to do.

Onward and Upward,


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