The London Marathon
For a lot of people running the London marathon is on their bucket list. It is certainly on mine and I hope one day that I will cross the finishing
line exhausted, but elated! There is something about the sight of all those runners which moves me to tears. So many stories of courage. So many people wanting to raise money, wanting to make a difference. Wanting to show themselves they can do it. They can
run 26 miles.
Of course it's not just about the day. There is the training. The going out day after
day in wind and rain when you ache and would rather have an extra hour in bed. The dark days when you can't run through injury and the darkest days of all when you lose the belief that you can finish the race and berate yourself for ever believing that you
Those thoughts don't just apply to marathon running. We can excitedly start a piece of work
for God and there is a great surge of energy and the tiredness kicks in. Things don't go the way we thought and the desire to give up and to convince ourselves that we have failed that God hasn't called us at all really kick in and unravel us. Perseverance,
endurance, faith, belief trust are beyond us.
It's then we need to find cheerleaders- encouragers, those
who like the crowds lining the streets of London spot the runners who are really struggling and call to them and wave to them and even run along side them for a while. To re- energise them. To inspire them to Keep Going.
There can only be one winner of any race. But the Marathon isn't about
winning. It is is about courage. It is about taking part. It is about everything that is good about the human spirit. It is about togetherness. It is tough. Very tough. But when the going gets tough..........
Is there something on your Bucket List you can begin to make happen? Is there someone you
know who needs you to run alongside them for a while
The good thing about running the London Marathon is that you know exactly how many miles it is. So you can pace yourself and train accordingly. We don't know how many
miles there are in our life's marathon. Should we work like mad in our younger days and then rest when grey hairs start to appear. Should we give everything we have now or hold something back in reserve. How fast should we run? One thing we are called to do
is to run our race 'with perseverance. Chapter 12 of the letter to the Hebrews is a great encouragement. It is challenging, reassuring and brings us back to Christ, whose life race was short but a marathon none the less . A marathon with hurdles! This passage
is one of my favourites verses 1-5 especially. It is easy to miss the first verse-' lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely' and yet without doing that we are too burdened to run. It is like trying to run in trainers with stones in. it is
like running backwards.
Read this passage slowly and reflect on it and make it your prayer today.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great
a cloud of witnesses, let us 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. Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.'
And may God bless our every step, as we sprint, as we jog and as we
rest. And may perseverance, endurance and love be gifts we are blessed with and gifts we share in Jesus name
Back to school
I didn’t really enjoy school, but one thing I did get excited about at the beginning of each new year was the prospect of a nice clean exercise book. I always pledged
to keep it neat and tidy and use my bestest handwriting. It was a chance to make a new beginning. To study harder, get better results and all in all be an ace student! Of course by week two, my new book was as scruffy as my old one and I had slipped back into
my old routine of scrawly handwriting, and homework done at the last minute. All the potential of a new start had gone,- like my new year resolutions down the pan!
A lot of school work is done on computer now but a new school year still affords us the
opportunity to renew our commitment to one another and to God. To give our best, in our studies, our friendships and our prayers. It gives us a chance to begin again. To renew our determination not just to think about ourselves but about the wider
world. To help organisations like the Children’s Society in their endeavours to offer every child the opportunity to be fed, to be safe and to learn. To bring every child hope that their circumstances can change, that there can be a new beginning. That
they aren’t forgotten.
Making a new beginning isn’t just about trying harder, or even working harder. God wants us to have fun as well. Yes even at school! God wants to bless us through our friends, to refresh us through Scripture and to
renew us as we take time out from studying to enjoy the things that excite us. It’s hard not to get ground down by daily life. It’s hard to keep the sense of anticipation a new school year can bring. Tiredness creeps in. Anxiety hovers over our
work and the prospect of exams hangs in the air. For many in our world just finding enough food or enough clean water let alone a clean uniform will be a struggle that takes all their energy and all their strength.
So how can they and we refresh our
sense of purpose each day and feel upheld by God?
Jesus knew about busyness. Healing, and teaching about the Kingdom, he got exhausted So early in the mornings he would find a quiet spot and pray. Amidst all the rush he knew he needed to step
aside to recharge his batteries, and renew his relationship with his Heavenly Father.
Maybe as a new school year gets under way, we could follow Jesus’ example. Perhaps we could make a moment each day to say our family prayer and ask Jesus
to help us through the day We could hold in our hearts all who are suffering, especially children in places of war and poverty. Those who won’t be able to go to school and those who find school frightening and difficult.
As we say
the Lord’s Prayer together may we all know God’s refreshing Spirit in our lives and be renewed day by day as we begin again
Our Father in Heaven
Hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil
For the kingdom, the
power and the glory are yours now and for ever
We thank you Lord Jesus that as we meet back at school for a new term you are there with us.
We pray your courage for all those who are afraid they will be
Your companionship for all those who find it hard to make friends.
Your confidence for those worried about their lessons and keeping up with the work
Your wisdom and grace and encouragement for all who teach and support children
in their learning
And we pray your blessing on those seeking to help children around the world unable to go to go school…