My Easter spills straight over into the London marathon. If Jesus was resurrected from the dead then anything is possible. There is no reason why I should not manage 26 miles [42 km] ~ how hard can it be? Running is a primal emotion and thus the perfect Easter activity. Running away from someone is a Good Friday expression of fear. Running towards someone is an Easter Sunday expression of joy. Maybe Bruce Springsteen is right and we are all born to run. I will find out soon enough.
There are features of marathon running that echo characteristics of the Kingdom of Heaven and I would like to try these out for myself. In a marathon all are considered as winners simply by virtue of their participation. There are no winners and losers, but only a reflected glory in which all are bathed simply by virtue of their participation. Likewise in God's kingdom all are equal. Grace neither rewards virtue nor punishes sin. Those who work the whole day in the vineyard get no more pay than those who start work at the eleventh hour [Mt 20:1-16]. The phalanxes of charity runners earn people’s respect simply for having a go.
Running is a great leveller and egalitarianism is a core theme for the early church. Jew & Gentile, slave & free, male & female come together as one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:28). People of all ages, classes, racial groups and types can run. Parents and children run together. There is no need even to belong to a gym. All one needs is a pair of trainers. Severely disabled people complete marathons to great acclaim.
Marathon running, like Christian living, is an exercise in how to live in the immediate moment. You complete a 42km marathon route by running 42,000 metres one after another. Likewise in Christian living you learn of God's love one day at a time ~ sufficient are the worries of the day [Matt 6:34].
A golden rule for marathon runners is to make sure that they run the second half of the route quicker than the first. It is easy for nerves and adrenaline at the start to set a fast pace from which one will soon tire. A measured start will mean a faster finish. Likewise in the Christian Faith it is easy to make oneself busy and to run around doing things in one’s own strength. Christianity is entirely anticipatory. There is more to look forward to than has happened in the past. Christ is coming again and will gather up the living and the dead in his glory (1 Thess 4:16-17}.
The Huffington Post gives 26 reasons why not to run a marathon and says that the only really good reason to do a marathon is because you really want to do so. This will be my last and strongest marathon running Christian learning motivation to run. Desire is at the heart of faith and faith is at the centre of Christian living. My best motivation to keep running and my best hope of finishing comes from the Old Testament. In the Bible Isaiah (40:30-31) says that people who trust in the Lord shall run and not be weary.
I am running the London marathon [23rd April] to raise money for Street Child World Cup. Please log on to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/BobMayo and sponsor me. It will help me get through the wall at 18 miles and support a valuable charity working with street children across the world.