Racing with One Goal in Mind
by Elaine Pierce
Are you a runner? I came to running in my late forties, and since then, I have run scores of 5K races and one ten-miler. While I have won my age group a couple of times, I am never, ever, at the front of the pack. But there is something about running with a large group of people that is exhilarating, and I find myself with more energy than when I run by myself. Perhaps that is part of what the writer of the Hebrews is describing when he says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." (Hebrews 12:1)
Who is part of this "great cloud of witnesses"? In a race, the witnesses are the family and friends who are cheering you on from the sidelines. And what a difference that can make, especially in a long race when the end seems far off. I think the writer is also referring to those saints who have gone before us, and who we will see again when we enter eternal life. The Apostles' Creed uses the phrase "the holy catholic church," and that refers to the body of Christ, both here on earth and in heaven.
We're not in this life as lone rangers. God has given us the body of Christ, and we are surrounded by Jesus followers. Imperfect as we are, we can all one another to faith and service, and help each other to fix our eyes on Jesus. We will experience struggles and the road will not be easy. But don't lose heart - Jesus is at the beginning of the race, he is in the middle, and he will greet us at the finish line. Thanks be to God for what he has done for us, and what he is doing in us. Take a look around you, and encourage those who are also in this race.
Dear Lord, the race can be hard, and I can be weak and sinful. Help me to run the race with my eyes fixed on Jesus. Thank you for the body of believers who surrounds me, encourages me, and runs with me. Amen.