While I trained by myself on solo-runs for this year’s Derby Mini-Marathon, I was not alone in the effort. Runners of every age have been busy these past six months on long runs in order to show up in downtown Louisville on Saturday morning to run the race together (including many church members who I delighted in seeing on Saturday!)
Surrounded by thousands of runners, there are moments where I felt as if I was being carried by their momentum—even while I was aware of all the energy and strength I needed to exert to put one foot in front of the other. When one runner fell at mile two, all the runners seemed to heave a sigh for him. Runners rushed over to help him to his feet and make sure he was ok. When we passed under an overpass, a few people would make some exclamation of exhilaration that soon moved through the crowd. We ran the race together.
I wonder if the author of Hebrews was imagining this exact scenario when he or she wrote, “Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses… let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.” At least, that is what I wondered all along the way on Saturday morning.
We, the church, run this race side-by-side. We rejoice with one another. We weep with one another. The saints line the streets and cheer us on—reminding us of all that is possible, even when we are weary and in pain.
Tomorrow night, I will gather to share all that I discovered as I ran with perseverance the Doctor-of-Ministry race this past year. The 40,000 words that I typed happened in isolation, but the words share all the truths that I heard from you, the Cloud of Witnesses who are running the race with perseverance. Join me tomorrow night as we remember that healing is possible when we are surrounded on the journey.