"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

"Both were running ...." (John 20:4)

To be certain, the message of Easter is the most essential passage in scripture for supporting our faith.  The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ provides the way for our personal salvation (Romans 10:9) and the assurance of an eternal home. To celebrate any seasonal service (Lent, Palm Sunday, Easter Worship) and not focus our attention on this message, is missing the mark.

That said, there are many applications for our journey that we find throughout the verses of Easter.  One that I personally appreciate is found in John 20. And before anyone makes the connection between my passion for running and my favorite verses, let me qualify.  Yes, the verses speak of three individuals who are "running," and yes, that is likely why it caught my attention, but no, that is not why I find the passage to be so challenging.  Let's take a look:

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalen went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.  So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one that Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!"  So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.  Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. - John 20:1-4  

In the spirit of blog brevity, I will shorten my usual discussion on this text and get to the point; it's about "URGENCY!" I firmly believe that the language used to describe this scene was intended to provide us with a clear sense of urgency.  No doubt that Mary Magdalen, John and Peter were going as fast as their sandaled feet could carry them.  But John's Gospel could have easily moved past this detail in any number of ways, while still giving us an accurate play-by-play; i.e., they "went", she "traveled back", John and Peter "hurried", etc.  However, by intentionally using "running", "running" and "outran," John was inspired to convey the significance of the moment in a way that clearly describes their urgency.  

So, how does this possibly apply to our daily walk? Personally, I am challenged by the response to "run" to Him.  To move as quickly as my own sandaled feet can carry me to serve, love, worship and fellowship. This response moves me from a Sunday morning of "have to worship" to a "can't wait to worship." I am further challenged by the fact that the disciple for which a relationship with Christ seemed to be stronger, actually ran faster. When considering the urgency for which we run to serve and worship, I would suggest that even now, those with a stronger relationship are regularly running ahead. Not in a competitive manner, just as a matter of fact.  I know I am not always in the lead pack and I pray for more urgency on a regular basis.  I hope we all find more of it this Easter.   

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