IDAHO FALLS — This weekend many local bikers will participate in a religious service to seek divine protection while on the road.
The annual Blessing of the Bikes is sponsored by the Idaho Falls chapter of the Christian Motorcycle Association, the Jericho Riders. Members of the national, nondenominational ministry work alongside other biker groups to perform community service and act as spiritual counselors to fellow bikers.
“It’s a brotherhood,” chapter president Tom Hammond said. “We all come together to help and support each other, but also come together to help the community. Yes, there are some outlaw groups that do stuff that aren’t respectable in the community, but there are also groups that come together and help when there is a need.”
A recent example of a community service by CMA members and other local groups was when they recently escorted a grieving mother during the funeral of her deceased son.
The Blessing of the Bikes is one of the local CMA’s larger gatherings of the year. Typically about 100 community bikers attend the event, but anyone in the community is welcome to come and participate.
The event, which is held outside in Freeman Park, begins with a short religious service by a CMA member. Then members of the CMA walk around and offer prayers over individual or groups of bikers and their motorcycles. Each prayer is tailored to the wishes of the person asking for the blessing.
“They’re all individual prayers, because the prayer you need might not be the same as his prayer,” Hammond said.
The prayers often include blessings for safe travel, good health, emotional or financial well-being or simple blessings for family members. And the prayers aren’t just limited to motorcycles. The CMA members also blesses all-terrain vehicles and even cars.
After the prayers, there is a picnic and everyone eats.
Each year, members hope for a bigger crowd and want to get the word out about the event to as many people as possible.
“We’re all Christians and we believe that Jesus died for our sins — that’s the basic message of Christianity that we want to be able to share with others,” chapter chaplain Cinda Hammond said.
The Blessing of the Bikes will be at 11 a.m. Sunday in Shelter 1 at Freeman Park in Idaho Falls.
Mike Price, EastIdahoNews.com
Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com