Serving God, Serving our Community

Running the Race?

Dear parishioners and friends,

On Easter Monday this year (April 22nd) I’m planning to take part in the Frittenden Fun Run, as I have done once before.   Although I was a very keen club, cross country, distance and marathon runner from school and college until my early 40s, recording some quite respectable results and times, my knees then started playing up, despite using good quality shoes.  As a result I went back to long distance cycling and hiking, or running on soft surfaces, which are much gentler on my knees.  So do please cheer me on if you are spectating (or overtaking me)  J   It will hopefully be good fun and I also hope the Fun Run will also raise funds for various charities.

Today’s world is fascinated by sports of all kinds, just as the Ancient Greeks and Romans were in the first century after Christ. That’s why athletics, running, chariot racing, boxing, wrestling and other sports are mentioned in the Bible, especially by St Paul, who draws many lessons from sport in his letters to the Christians of that era.        As we now look forward to Easter this year, it might be helpful to ponder our own position in the race of life.  Are we on the right track?  Have we lost our way?  Are we struggling?  Do we have anyone to encourage or help us?  That’s what churches are for.  Are we aware that Jesus is with us to help us?

Bishop Stephen Cottrell has said:  “The Christian life is not a sprint. It is a marathon. This means that to run it like a sprint is a recipe for disaster. Any marathon runner will tell you that the key is to pace yourself. The trouble is that, when we see younger fitter runners hurtling past us, we try to keep up and are in danger of destroying ourselves in the process, with the danger that we collapse before we reach the end”.  Are we pacing ourselves well?

The Welsh poet/priest R S Thomas also wisely wrote: “Life is not hurrying on to a receding future, nor hankering after an imagined past. It is turning aside like Moses to the miracle of the burning bush, to a brightness that seemed as transitory as your youth once was, but is the eternity that awaits you.”   Don’t miss out on the best prize of all.

Rev Fred Olney