Communion Meditation for November 4th, 2012
Running the Race
1 Corinthians 9:24-26a “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly.”
Yesterday, I ran my first 5k race. In order to train for a race of any length, there is a lot of preparation involved.
- First I had to decide to begin training, get off the couch and hit the track/ trail. This is just like the Christian life, where you must accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then get baptized, and then begin your life as a believer
- I had to refer to a training program. There are many programs available, such as Couch to 5k and Hal Higdon‘s website for training for longer distances. In the same way, a Christian has many resources available to aide in their Christian race, including Bible reading plans and devotionals.
- Often times, a runner will find a group of runners to associate with. This group serves as a support mechanism, sharing tips and experiences along the way. They also encourage one another by sharing race times and events. This is similar to joining a small group Bible study, a church and a Sunday school class.
- Many runners get training partners. They run races and prepare together, often spurring one another along. In a similar way, many Christians have accountability partners to spur them forward in their Christian race.
- Often times, serious runners will enlist the help of a coach. In the Christian life we rely upon spiritual mentors in a discipleship relationship.
On the day of the race, there were many people present. These included race volunteers, observers, and the participants.
- The volunteers were there to help explain the course, the rules and guidelines. They also served as encouragers along the race course. Many times they would smile and cheer as we ran past. These people are like the many that we come into contact within the Christian faith. Maybe there are pastors at churches that you visit when out of town or people that you don’t know well in your home church that operate behind the scenes to set up the service. Maybe these people encourage you periodically with a kind word.
- The crowd is made up of people that I knew and people that I did not know. Those that I knew were there to cheer me on. As I began the race, my wife and kids were yelling “Go, Go, Go!”. They helped to encourage me to keep moving. At the end of the race, they were there cheering once again. They helped cheer me during that final push to the finish line. The people that I did not know, saw me nonetheless. They were watching all the racers and hopefully found some sort of inspiration within the mass people running. The runners served as witnesses to them and examples to hopefully encourage them to run a race at some point in time. I think of these people as those within the church who just have a natural way of encouraging and cheering for others.
- Finally, there were the participants of the race itself. I guess I can say this, as I am now one of them, but runners are a bit of a different breed. I found it interesting that runners along the way would encourage one another. Racers talked with others before the race, during the race and especially after the race itself was over. At just about the 3 mile point of the 5k (3.1 mile) race, a man a bit younger than me began his final push and passed me by just a bit. I thought to myself: “No way is he going to beat me.” At that moment, I began a push and then a full out sprint (well what I had left at that point) toward the finish line. I could see him pushing harder. I was able to finish just in front of him (That is actually the picture of us crossing the finish line at the top of the page. I am on the left of the photo and he is to the right). Instead of being angry, he gave me a high five and said “Nice race.” There is a sort of bond among the runners that can’t be explained, unless you have been a runner in a race. Those of us that are brothers and sisters in Christ have an even stronger bond that is difficult to explain. I call it a family secret, something that you don’t know and understand until you are part of the family of Christ. By being a part of this spiritual family, we have a connection to one another that is very deep. We have an instant connection with other believers that is not present with non-believers.
The author of Hebrews penned these words in Hebrew 12:1-3
“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 the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
On the night that He was betrayed, Jesus took the bread and said “This is my body, which is broken for you.” Then He took the cup and said “This is the cup of the new covenant. This is my blood which has been shed for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Let us pray as we begin our time of communion.
This is the second communion meditation that I prepared for 2012. The other is archived on our site from communion meditation in June of 2012.