On Sunday 15th October hundreds of York Marathon runners will pass through Murton and Osbaldwick again.
Considering the fact that I have the physique of a Greek god, it may be hard for you to imagine that in secondary school, I was one of those mildly overweight kids who always got picked last for in PE. I hated PE with a passion. One of the reasons for my dislike of sport may have had something to do with the absence of a television at our home. I never got to see proper sports with inspiring sportsmen and women. Not even football. My strict Christian parents considered sport a dangerous and worldly thing, deeply incompatible with our religious lifestyle.
Interestingly, St Paul thought otherwise. He clearly knew a thing or two about sports. In his letter to the Hebrews, St Paul asks us to call to mind an Olympic running race. And then he asks us to imagine that we take part in this race. We run the race of life. And, St Paul says, we are watched, from the sidelines and the grandstand, by those who have already finished the race of life: our loved ones who have gone before us cheer us on. What an audience!
So, St Paul urges us to give our very best in the race of life: ‘Let us run with perseverance the course that is set before us.’ (Hebrews 12.1) Let us throw off any weight that bears us down. Let’s get rid of distractions, jealousy, greed, and whatever sin prevents us from running the race smoothly. Drop it all, because it only slows you down! And when the going gets tough, keep your mind’s eyes on Jesus. He ran the race of life like no one else. He suffered more than anyone else.
But he won the ultimate victory. Think of him, and don’t lose heart. Run! With him as your coach and supporter, you can do it! But what if we feel like crashing out? What if everything becomes too much? What if we stumble and fall? Then Jesus calls us: ‘Come to me, all who are weary, and I will give you rest.’ (Matthew 11.28)
I don’t know which spurs you on more: St Paul’s rousing team talk, or Jesus’ promise of a peaceful rest. They are both invitations into the same life. A contagious life that inspires others to drink from the same well. A life that gives life."
Love and prayers