Forgive the running related post… As an amateur runner, I tend to still be amazed that my body and my spirit let me do some of the things I’ve done. Yesterday I ran the Columbus Marathon, my 4th marathon. While my time was not my personal best, I had one goal: run to find joy on the course. 

Something I’ve discovered about myself is that I often get so focused on the end result that I do not often think about how much more I would enjoy that result if I had found joy along the way. So as I toed the line yesterday, I tried to run with joy. Find joy. Keep joy. 

As I settled down at home after dinner, I was scrolling through my social media feed. It seemed as though every. single. post. was about the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon and ½ Marathon. One of the most encouraging things to read on the various signs out on the course was one that said, “Once you cross that line you’re in the less than 1% of people who can themselves a marathoner.” 

Pastor Anna, what does any of this have to do with spirituality or faith?

When I have chosen to enter into a community of runners, I am surrounded by the love and support of those runners. That small fraction of the population seems big to me because I’ve immersed myself in it. Yesterday was full of Personal Records, disappointments, challenges, falls, and celebration. When we surround ourselves with people who are working towards similar growth, we benefit from people who will cheer us on to our accomplishments and be present with us in our disappointment and pain. Isn’t that what a church community is supposed to be? I feel as though we often think of our faith as a deeply personal thing, and it is to some extent… 

But the community of faith is meant to be one that uplifts and supports us. If we would look at the “newsfeed” of our community, would we feel confident in sharing our joys and safe enough to share our heartache and pain? While I did not achieve a PR yesterday, I found the joy in sharing it all with the community of runners, both those I know and those I don’t. I hope that you can find similar joy in our community of faith. All you have to do is toe the line.