Wheel of God
by Bill West
The church was
filled with the sound of squeaking; as if fifty
people were tying balloons into animal shapes.
Reverend Poonbender ducked as he passed through
the Sacristy door, pirouetted, then cycled to the
pulpit, pogoed up its spiral staircase, and
dismounted his unicycle with finesse.
He looked out
across the sea of bobbing heads of his
congregation. A proud smile creased his face. The
air was filled with the aroma of rubber,
deodorant and WD40. Men and women of sleek
physique, taut bodies clad in lilac lycra, their
leg muscles pumping, their heads crowned with
cycle helmets bearing the sacred Wheel logo.
held up clasped hands, as if in prayer. The
congregation ceased their forward and backward
motions and dismounted their unicycles. Silence
of the Latter Day Unicyclists, Poonbender
said in a strong, if high pitched voice. I
have wonderful news that will fill your hearts
with gladness; - Blessed be the Wheel of God.
The congregation boomed.
are those who would mock us, who deny the sacred
Circle of Life, the Wheel of God!
Wheel be done they intoned.
peddle the heresy that Jesus never rode a
unicycle, that unicycles were invented in 1800.
This is an evil falsehood. Was not Joseph a
carpenter of skill and might? Did he not teach
his God-given skills to young Jesus, to plane and
saw, to steam and bend, to turn wood on a simple
lathe, to make a spinning wheel for Blessed Mary
the mother of our Saviour? I dont doubt
that the Shroud of Turin was woven from threads
spun by Marys own fingers. The cloth that
bound our Saviour when he was taken down from the
cross came from that same spinning wheel.
And when Jesus
was a boy playing in the road, seeing the
prideful Romans ride past in their chariots
wouldnt his heart cry out, as ours do, at
the affrontery to God his father? For we know
that the Penny-farthing was a heresy, and the
bicycle the creation of the Devil, as most
assuredly is the four wheeled car, pumping out
its noxious fumes, poisoning Gods air,
truly a Weapon of Mass Destruction!
I accept there
is an argument in favour of the tricycle as
evidence of Gods compassion for the elderly.
None of us will forget I am sure poor sister
Margery who struggled so long and hard in her
devotions until the Lord chose fit to take her to
His bosom. She suffered so many falls, and few of
us can expect to survive a broken pelvis at the
age of eighty one.
And next time,
when we are at our evening devotions; when we
gather at Golgotha car park, behind the shopping
Mall at sundown, and we stand in formation,
stationary atop our unicycles, arms outstretched
to remember the suffering of our Lord upon the
Cross; look behind you! Dont our shadows
form the shape of that Cross?
I know we have
all suffered the disdain of the sinful. There are
those who would scoff at our creed, deny that
Jesus was the first unicyclist. But we need fear
no more. For I have had a vision and a revelation.
Christ was a unicyclist, but so were his mother
Mary, and his disciples. The evidence has been
staring us in the eyes for centuries. Look at the
picture behind the altar, painted by an Italian,
Giotto by name, a painting called The
Mourning of Christ. I have made an
extensive study of the apparel worn in those far
off days. Their clothes were loose, even in the
cold snowfall of Christmas. Here I have a sheet
of the size and shape they might have worn.
you switch off the lights while I put on my
went dark. The winter moon gleamed pale through
the West Window. There was a shuffling and the
odd bump from the darkened pulpit; then silence
broken only by a faint ticking of a wheel, slowly
came on and in its beam, the Right
Reverend Poonbender wrapped in a sheet, his
upended unicycle strapped to his back, the wheel
spinning, framing his head. The light glinted on
spinning spokes, looking for all the world like
the gleaming halos in Giottos painting.