Friday, October 16, 2015

Freedom's Run Marathon--Part 4

I've already said this in the last five days, but I will say it again. I never would have guessed that the Freedom's Run Marathon would have led me to write so much. The last two parts that I am envisioning go back to my idea of "bib number and Bible verses" that later expanded to include "race times and Bible verses." My bib number was 96. I could have looked at that as the sixth verse of a ninth chapter or the ninth verse of a sixth chapter or he 96th chapter. There are not too many books of the Bible with 96 chapters. In fact, only one comes to mind--Psalms. So, I turned to Psalm 96 and found inspiration.

As always, I draw on the Bible at the U S Conference of Catholic Bishops webpage.

1 "Sing to the LORD a new song; 
sing to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Sing to the LORD, bless his name; 
proclaim his salvation day after day.
3 Tell his glory among the nations; 
among all peoples, his marvelous deeds.
4 For great is the LORD and highly to be praised, 
to be feared above all gods.
5 For the gods of the nations are idols, 
but the LORD made the heavens.
6 Splendor and power go before him; 
power and grandeur are in his holy place.
7 Give to the LORD, you families of nations, 
give to the LORD glory and might;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!
8 Bring gifts and enter his courts; 
bow down to the LORD, splendid in holiness.
9 Tremble before him, all the earth; 
declare among the nations: The LORD is king.
10 The world will surely stand fast, never to be shaken.
He rules the peoples with fairness.
11 Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; 
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them.
12 Then let all the trees of the forest rejoice 
before the LORD who comes,
who comes to govern the earth,
13 To govern the world with justice 
and the peoples with faithfulness."

What does this mean, and how does it relate to the marathon.  Well, this marathon was one of the most beautiful courses I ever ran on.  (Probably the most and at the time of year when the leaves were just beginning to change."  That certainly makes things like "Let the heavens be glad..." that makes me think of song lyrics we have sung for years "Let heaven rejoice and earth be glad, let all creation sing."  It is joy.  And while there were moments during the race when neither Lauren nor I would necessarily have thought of "joy" as the first word to come to mind, the overall course made me think of joy.  And there were many trees lining the course so that fits wit verse 12 as well.  The first three verses are also just plain joyful verses that make me think of the joy that came with this marathon.  Training to run it with someone.  Realizing that goal--for at least 19 of the 26.2 miles.  And enjoying a course that shows the wonder and beauty of the world that God created.

The rest of the Psalm talks a bit about God being fair and just and the fact that the Gods of other nations are idols.  It is the last part that I focus on the most.  (Although I don't ignore the fair and just part and choose to see that above the parts about fear and trembling.)  

In any case, I try not to make running my idol but to use running to experience God.  I recognize the friends that I am blessed to have in my life.  I recognize the beauty of the land over which I am lucky enough to run.  I realize the wonderful neighborhoods that I can see and the people in them.  I realize the health that I am blessed to have and keep (including the ability to train hard but not crazy and run a 3:34).  I realize the way in which this has affected my life.  And I see it in the context of my faith in God.  And the joy that I can share with others.  Not always evangelizing like the street corner preacher's back in my Penn State days, but quietly being willing to speak of my faith and share the joy it brings me.  

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