In his latest ‘Yours Faithfully’ column, Saltbox’s Church Liason Officer Tim Lucas talks about the 2019 London Marathon and how it acts as a metaphor when it comes to the journey through life.
Like many people, I spent a good portion of Sunday watching the London Marathon. As the television cameras followed the race and spoke to individuals along the way, it struck me how accurate a metaphor the London Marathon is for life.
Both are shaped by stories. It’s common for people to run representing a charitable cause, often one close to their hearts. Each training session they undertake, and each step placed on the race day, is done so with that charity in mind, or perhaps more accurately for the person who drew them to that charity, be it themselves or a family member, friend, or other loved one. Something has happened to give that charity a place in their lives.
Likewise, we all go through life carrying a story of our own – a thing which has changed us deeply, and which, in its own way, affects every step we take.
Both deal with issues of identity. There is a good mix of people who dress in ordinary running gear and those who dress in fancy dress. Whether they are running for comfort or another reason, the scene is of fluorescent outfits running alongside giant sheep and even Big Ben.
Life brings with it experiences that will cause some to find it very easy to be true to themselves, while others will find that very difficult. For some people it is very easy to be themselves, and they have no qualms with allowing themselves to be seen. But for others, there is a tendency to cover up, to pretend to be different than they really are, to hide behind something rather than be exposed as themselves.
Both also come with their dangers and setbacks, some more serious than others. On Sunday, a man dressed as Big Ben made it to the finish line in good time, only to be too tall to actually pass the finish line. What followed was a humorous encounter with him, a scaffold-type structure, and a race volunteer.
But for Hayley Carruthers it was a more serious matter, ending up crawling over the finish line, scraping her knees, and temporarily losing sight in one eye.
We will all be able to name somebody who has faced setbacks. While some will be something to laugh at, others will be sobering and moving.
Both take their toll on us. There is not a person who has run a marathon and not felt it. Even the elite athletes feel the strain of running that distance upon their bodies. And there is not a person who has not felt some level of pain, strain, or sorrow in life.
As I reflect some more on the London Marathon I am reminded of Jesus’ words: ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’
I used to pass this off as a little bit glib. But rest is actually a very great thing to be offered. When the marathon runners have pushed on through 26 miles, their bodies worn and tired, their joints aching and stiff, then the promise of rest will be something of great joy.
And as we pass through life, with its challenges and strains, uncertainties and issues, we are offered rest. Much needed and greatly appreciated rest. What a very great thing to be offered.
Tim Lucas (Saltbox Church Liaison Officer)