I was thinking today about Jan Karon's delightful books about Fr. Timothy at that little Episcopal Church in the NC mountains. Especially about when Fr. Timothy gave up driving and just biked around his parish for a couple years. Yeah. Right. I was thinking this today as I made a circuit from St. Paul's to Metro East Lutheran High to lead chapel, to the nursing home in Glen Carbon, to the hospital in Maryville, to the nursing home in Maryville, and then up the highway back to home for lunch. Then down route 140 to Alton to visit the hospital and then go to an assisted living home, and finally back to Hamel. It took fully 1/4 of my gas tank. Now, if I were Fr. Timothy on my bike, I *might* have just reached Maryville... :)
Seriously, our automobile society has totally rewritten "parish boundaries" in the sense of defining the area people live in. They live, shop, go to doctors and hosptials within an hour's or so drive of their homes. It makes modern parishes outrageously huge. And of course, we're then constantly overlapping. So when I go to the hospital it is not at all unusual to run into fellow LCMS pastors making the rounds. But when Fr. Timothy went to the hospital in his little town, he was the only episcopal priest in sight.
Sigh. I sometimes think Fr. Timothy might be onto something. Maybe I SHOULD go buy a bike and give it a try.