Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Running the race

Apparently, a certain sporting event is due to take place in our country this July and August. Something to do with interlinked coloured rings, flaming torches, gold medals etc. I think its called the Olympic Games. Some of the events in the modern games, like running, jumping and throwing stuff would not have been out of place in the original Olympics. But I’m not sure that the Spartan and Athenian competitors of yesteryear went in for synchronised swimming. How would that have helped at Thermopylae or the Battle of Marathon?

The biggest event of the modern Olympiad is undoubtedly the men’s 100 metre race. Will Usain Bolt manage to nonchalantly chalk up another record breaking win? The Jamaican makes it seem so effortless, but he must put in hours of hard training to be the undisputed Fastest Man on Earth.

I can’t be sure about this, but I think that the apostle Paul was a bit of an athletics fan. His writings in the New Testament make reference wrestling and running. He admired the athletes’ single-minded dedication, Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 9:25).

Paul viewed himself as a spiritual athlete, who had been called to run the race of faith. Following Jesus demands self-denial and perseverance. The apostle kept on running to the end. He maintained a steady gaze on the prize that was set before him. Some of the last words he wrote reflect this,
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day —and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
Are you running the race? 

* For the July/August edition of News & Views, West Lavington parish magazine. 

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