Lenten Devotion for March 18, 2023

The Good Courage writer for today worked from a passage in the 3rd chapter of the letter to the Phillippians. Here is a version of part of it from The Message:

 “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.”

I started running cross-country in high school. I was not good at it, but I liked it. It’s the only athletic team I ever “made” in high school. There were no try outs. If you came to practice, you were a runner.

I’m still not a great runner. Years ago I ran a few half-marathons, and full marathons. More recently, I do 5 km events, that others think of as races. I am happy to start, cover the course, and finish.

I cheer on the ones who are out front, and who will reach the finish line before I am halfway there. I cheer on the ones who are struggling. It’s okay to take a walk break, stop at a water station for a drink and a rest. It’s okay to go as far as you can, and be kind to yourself.

We are, all of us, on the race course and off, works in progress. We do what we can do.

The photo is from about a decade ago. My friend Mary Ann joined me for part of “Darrow’s Dash”, a fundraiser for the congregation I served then.

I remember running in the 1980’s while carrying my rather sizable and weighty “Walkman”, and listening to the soundrack from “Chariots of Fire”. That’s the movie about Eric Liddell, the Scottish missionary who famously refused to run in the qualifying heats for the 100 metre sprint at the 1924 Paris Olympics, because they were on Sunday.

Because life is weird and amazing, the congregation for which I ran “Darrow’s Dash” included a lovely woman named Heather, who is one of Eric Liddell’s daughters.

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