Those of you who know me, know that I have never run a race in my life.
I can hardly stand to exercise let alone get up the gumption to run when no one is chasing me.
I did however, enter a half marathon almost 10 years ago now and I walked/jogged the whole thing with my 10 year old daughter, whom I might add, it was her bright idea to enter this marathon.
We were the last to arrive at the finish sign that had almost come down by then.
I lost a toenail.
But we finished the race.
I'm not a runner, but I have realized now more than ever before in my life that I am indeed in a race.
Some would venture to say we are all in a race, the Human Race, but that isn't the the only race I'm talking about.
I'm also talking about my faith race.
My very human, full of faith race.
It's a different kind of race because I'm not competing against anyone.
I'm not trying to look better than my neighbor and have more faith based "Good Works" that people can take note of.
I'm not trying to earn titles and have certificates that say I have more faith than you because I took this class, or I attend church several times a week.
Seriously, I could give a shit about that!!
I'm just trying to live in such a way that is worthy of my calling, and the best way I know how to do that is to simply, truly, authentically;
It's sounds so simple.
It sounds so easy.
But this human faith race is NOT easy my friends.
There are times when I hang my head in sorrow because I don't understand why with our free will we choose to hurt one another instead of realizing we are on the same team.
We get caught up in silly things that at the end of this race won't even be on our radar let alone something we are still talking about.
These are the times when I want to stop running, not the faith part of the race because for me loyalty to Jesus the Lover of My Soul is easy.
He makes this race easy.
He even says;
"For my yoke is easy and my burden is light"
"Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest"
No it's not that part of the race I want to sit down on, it's the human part.
The love people part.
Loving people is hard.
Now dont' get me wrong I am a people lovin person through and through, or is it thru?
We are a broken concept if you will.
We were never supposed to function outside of being in relationship with our Creator, and so being broken we go around breaking more things.
It's messed up what we do to each other and ourselves sometimes.
And that's just the part of loving people that we can control.
Then there's the part that we can't control, like when tragedy happens and our reactions aren't always what they should be.
"Life does not have to be full of ease to reflect beauty.
Some of the most beautiful faces in history have not had eyes to see, nor voices to move their lips,
but have possessed peace and serenity that only faith could render."
But much like the quote says above some of the most amazing runners in this human faith race are those who have endured true hardships; cancer, divorce, loss of a child, homes being burnt in a fire, children with disabilities, and so many more seemingly devastating things.
they are still running this race.
You can see it on the faces of those who have gone before you in these dark areas of life.
They are weathered in worn because they have been running for so very long, in the heat of the day, and
they still shine.
There are so many who have gone before me in this race like it talks about in the book of Hebrews chapter 12.
"Therefore then... since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses"
My great grandparents, ran this human faith race.
My grandparents both ran this human faith race.
My parents are still running this human faith race.
And so for me it's a legacy of faith.
But for some you don't have that kind of lineage and to you I would say
read Hebrews chapter 11 to find out what kind of human faith race you do have.
It gives me great courage and focus to realize that there are those going before me leading the way,
and honestly it makes me want to stay in the race for the generations I will leave behind someday.
I'm not a runner ....
I want to be a runner who finishes this human faith race.
This past Sunday the passage of scripture that my community read thru was from John chapter 4.
It is one of my all time favorite Bible stories, and certainly one of the most meaningful things that Jesus ever did while he was here on earth.
You might think that talking to a woman at a well pales in comparison to everything else he did while he was here, but you would be SO wrong.
Let me tell ya why you would be OH SO wrong.
It is true, he did so many miracles while he was here.
Let me just list a few off the top of my head;
He fed thousands from one loaf of bread and a fish.
He raised Lazarus, one of his best buddy's who had been not "mostly dead" but DEAD, dead! He was stinky and wrapped in mummy attire for days, and with a word he came out and had a party with his sisters.
And then of course there was the whole raising himself from the dead and walking around, (not like "The Walking Dead") for 40 days as fully ALIVE and fully WELL.
This and so much more is why he has so many followers, and why ALOT of the world has come to know him as the One True LIVING God, but the stories like what I find in John chapter 4 are what draw me back to his feet in total, utter, love, and adoration.
I think it's because this story speaks to the heart of every person who is broken and in need of true love.
Can you tell me of one person who isn't in NEED of true love?
The story in John chapter 4 is about a woman, who came to a water well to fill her empty bucket.
What she left with was not only a very full soul, but her eyes were opened to see the Lover of her Soul.
Her whole life she had been searching to fill this void that she had.
The bible says she tried to fill that void 5 times over, with 5 different husbands, but nothing and no one could take the place that Jesus would.
She was broken.
Can you tell me one person who isn't broken ?
I absolutely love that every time I read this story I get something new from it.
There are angles and sides to every story we all know this to be true.
Ask any divorced couple to tell you their version of what went wrong and often times you get two completely different stories.
The same is true of the stories in scripture.
This is why I believe it is said in Hebrews that the scriptures are alive and active.
WE (with the help of the Holy Spirit) make them come alive when we read them and share them with others, because each of us see something different.
We question different things.
We interpret words and the meaning of those words different.
We have different passions and interests that cause us to see the world and all that is in it so differently.
I absolutely LOVE that about reading the bible with other people.
Did you know that is the way it was always intended to be read?
So this Sunday the angle on this scripture came from a bro in Christ named Matthew.
He talked about the significance of the fact that most Jews didn't even travel thru Samaria.
They would take a different road that took them way outside of where they were trying to get to, all to avoid the town of Samaria. We are talking DAYS out of the way.
Most Jews thought of Samaria as the ghetto if you will, and would take great lengths to avoid passing thru there. The reason was because Samariatans had become front runners. They followed Judaism only when it benefited them, otherwise they went with the popular party at hand.
I had never really thought about how significant this road trip was for Jesus and his disciples until Matt broke it down like that and it gave a whole new angle to the story.
We all know that for Jesus to be speaking to a woman was unheard of for that day and age, but to have even traveled to Samaria was a bold move on his part. I'm sure the disciples begged and pleaded to go around the ghetto streets of Samaria, but the scriptures say, "He had to go".
Because he knew that not only was there going to be a conversation with a broken, thirsty woman at the well, but a whole town that he would proceed to hang out in for 2 whole days would come to know the LOVE of God in a way that they had never experienced before.
And that is why this story is significant, beyond what may appear to be just a simple conversation.
Jesus was breaking down prejudices.
Jesus was establishing a kingdom with a foundation built on nothing less than love.
Jesus wouldn't be persuaded to take a different path.
His way, is THE only way, and that is the Way of LOVE.
Above all titles, genders, races, ....
HE IS ABOUT LOVE
If anyone tells you different they are preaching a different gospel.