Good morning! How is it already Friday?
I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.
So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.
When I read this passage this morning, my first thought was “but it’s my day off, I don’t really want to think about eyes on the goal this morning.” I also thought about how I am not a runner. Last night, as some friends gathered to hang out and eat some holiday food together, the subject of running came up. Some in the room are runners and some are far from it but we have our own workout goals and healthy practices. We talked about pacing and timing and how to get from point A to point B in our goals. We talked about distances and the allure of running that it could be. And then we moved on to other topics.
My brother Andrew and soon to be sister in law have taken up running recently and even ran a half marathon without much training. At Thanksgiving we were asking them about what that was like. Would they do it again or venture into a full marathon? What did it feel like to run and run to an end goal? Do they consider themselves runners? My good friend Kate is a marathon runner and I am often intrigued by her marathoning and how her experiences translate to life. She runs marathons all over the country and I think finds great joy in running and looking forward to those goals. Perhaps she can add to our conversation.
So I randomly googled (don’t you love how that has become a verb?) “the poetry of running.” In some ways, from people who have talked of running speak about running as if it is fine tuned poetry in motion. I like the idea of running as poetry of the body and this could be why Paul speaks of running in this way. When I looked at the results I found an article called “The poetry of running” on Runningtimes.com. This article highlighted poets who ran and wrote of running. From the article…
“Running is like music, capable of infinite varieties of mood. We can run in zestful joy, or in somber meditation. Running can be about freedom of movement in contact with Nature; or it can be about the discipline and willpower of competitive effort on a road or track. It can give the rich companionship of running with friends, or the equally rich solitude of running alone. It is a significant part of the lives of millions of people worldwide. Surely it deserves a literature to express and celebrate these different moods and meanings.
Poets have written about running ever since Homer and Pindar in Ancient Greece nearly 3,000 years ago, and have sought to make running as memorable and vivid in words as it is in action. Many runners will be familiar with the lines that end the first poem:
And we run because we like it
Through the broad bright land.”
And it occurs to me that part of the goal and joy of running is the actual act of running…and perhaps that is the comparison to our Advent waiting and the significance of the scripture passage about a goal this morning. In our actual waiting, we receive God’s clear sight. It is not just the goal of Christmas that becomes whats important but the actual act of running, keeping pace, finding our rhythm, finding our breathing patterns, our best shoes for the journey, connecting to each other on how we run, that is the goal of Advent. And when we hit the wall, we have others to compare our goals, times, and pace with. And when we don’t want to run any longer, we have each other to pick the other up. That’s what last night’s conversation was about….and then we ate more together and laughed lots more together.
Today visualize what it is like for you to run and keep in mind the goal this season. Of course, we don’t have it all together but God will clear our vision once we are on the path. Today also visualize running alongside someone else..reaching out for the connection that lies before you. Now breathe.
Prayer: O God, excite us to run with you this morning. May we be of what poets write of and run because we like it through the broad bright land. Amen.