Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2, NRSV
I’m not much of a runner. I don’t seek out 5Ks or train for marathons. I do sign up for Pocono Plateau’s “Hero Dash” every fall… but to be honest, I usually take the “fun run” course at a leisurely walking pace, often with a kiddo sitting on top of my shoulders.
I’m not much of a runner… but at the moment I find myself in a marathon. We all find ourselves in a marathon. COVID-19 is a marathon, one that has required a seasoned runner’s endurance and perseverance (to say nothing of the comfort of carbo-loading). It has been (and continues to be) a marathon… yet I’m comforted by these opening words from Romans 12, words that speak of ‘running the race’ set before us and doing so with perseverance. I’m comforted by the “cloud of witnesses” language, by the reminder of those who have run hard races before us and have managed to keep faith in the midst of them.
I’m comforted… because in this moment, those witnesses seem like the crowds on the race route, cheering on the runners. We can’t necessarily hear them or see them or grab the water from their extended hands… but they’re there just the same, cheering us on. And frankly, in the midst of COVID-tide, we can use all the cheering on we can get.
So run the race, church. Keep the faith. Listen for the silent cheering section. And remember:
Our God is bigger than coronavirus.
Our vision is bigger than coronavirus, too.
We are people blessing people.
We are Wesley Church.
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