How are you feeling about the UCI championships coming to Wollongong? Perhaps you’re a keen cyclist or an avid spectator, and you’ve been looking forward to this event for ages. Or maybe you don’t quite get why there’s so much fuss (and so much lycra). Or perhaps you’re more like me, quietly dreading the disruption to my usual routine and just trying to work out how to get from A to B around all the road closures!

I like predictability. I’m a creature of habit and I find comfort in things being the way they usually are. The last couple of years have been full of disturbance and uncertainty – bushfires, a pandemic, floods, global conflict, price shocks, and toilet roll panic buying. I’m tired of having plans cancelled or things which are usually easy, feeling so much harder than they should be. So I have to confess, when it comes to the UCI, I’ve put it in the ‘too hard basket’. Maybe if I just don’t think about it, I can just go about that week as normal. Surely that’s how it works, right?

Ok, I know that’s not how it works. The UCI is happening whether I’m ready for it or not! I can’t pretend I didn’t know it was coming – I double checked the countdown clocks announcing the race were put up in Wollongong Mall, and it was nearly two years ago! And since then I’ve received information by letterbox drop, radio, social media, and all sorts of signs up all around town. I’ve really had quite a lot of time to understand what’s going to happen and lots of opportunity to make my plans. The truth is, I just didn’t really pay attention or get organized.

When I was thinking about that, I was reminded of Jesus. And not because of that bit in the Bible where Jesus had trouble getting to work because of a bike race (spoiler: that never happened). But because like the UCI, even though Jesus was announced well in advance, lots of people were still taken by surprise. Throughout the Old Testament, there are lots of signs which point to Jesus. Many people were eagerly anticipating the arrival of the ‘Messiah’, God’s chosen one, and the changes he would bring for their lives and the world. But others weren’t excitedly awaiting his arrival, or didn’t understand what it was all about. Maybe they hadn’t paid attention or understood to the signs – or perhaps Jesus just seemed like an unwelcome addition to their ‘too hard basket’.

Jesus, and the UCI, both evoke a lot of different reactions from different people. But something they both have in common, is that they are part of plans much bigger than our own, and are both an unavoidable reality that require us to understand what’s happening and work out what plans we need to make in response. Unlike the UCI, though, Jesus doesn’t just affect us for one week and then it’s back to normal – God wants our lives to be changed forever, for the better. It’s the good kind of disruption! All we need to do, is follow the signs.

Jesus answered “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.” John 14:6