If you tried to come to church yesterday on Centennial Blvd. from the west, you probably noticed that the road was blocked for the Eugene Marathon. Not only were there lots of runners on the road, but there were fans and spectators on almost every street corner. If you've ever run a long race, you really appreciate those who come out just to encourage.
When Diane and I were running the Maui Marathon a few years ago, I was ready to quit around mile 24 when we came upon a group from Calvary Chapel who were playing worship music at the roadside to encourage the runners. We were energized and able to finish the race.
I've noticed that when I'm out running, I'm much less likely to stop and walk if I'm running with another person or even if another person is around. It's pretty simple, when we run with others, we are able to push ourselves more than we would on our own.
Hebrews 12:1 describes how this works in our spiritual life as well. "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." We aren't running the race of life alone, we are surrounded by a "great cloud of witnesses". And just like those who stand at the side of the road and cheer on the runners in a marathon, we are called to encourage and be encouraged by one another.
Some of us got to experience this yesterday as we walked with a brother who is facing an unexpected health crisis. We assured him that he won't be running this race alone, rather he will be surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who will cheer him on, support him and pray for him. The cool thing is that it's not a one sided proposition. It is a privilege and an honor to be allowed to share the load, to help a brother or sister in the Lord to "run with perseverance".
That's what the Calvary Running Team is all about. Running or walking and fitness are secondary to living life together. Many of us are in the final preparation for the Pacific Northwest Marathon, half-marathon or 5K on May 28th, but our training takes a back seat to the honor of supporting and encouraging each other. If that sounds like something you would like to be part of, we would love to have you join us.
This week we will meet on Wednesday at noon at Clearwater Trail. On Saturday we will meet at 8 am at the Weyerhaueser haul road (Bob Straub Parkway and 57th Street in Springfield) and Sunday we will meet at Clearwater trail. Saturday we'll meet at 8 am and on Sunday we will meet at 4 pm.